Silene uralensis
apetalous catchfly

Alaska Wildflowers | Purple

Silene uralensis apetalous catchfly

Silene uralensis
apetalous catchfly

Common Names

silène de l’Oural
apetalous catchfly
mountain catchfly
nodding campion
nodding catchfly

Synonyms

No Synonyms for S. uralensis, however S. uralensis ssp. uralensis has a few (from VASCAN):
Agrostemma apetala (Linnaeus) G. Don TROPICOS
Gastrolychnis apetala (Linnaeus) Tolmatchew & Kozhanchikov TROPICOS
Gastrolychnis apetala subsp. arctica (Th. Fries) Á. Löve & D. Löve FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Gastrolychnis apetala subsp. uralensis (Ruprecht) Á. Löve & D. Löve TROPICOS
Gastrolychnis uralensis Ruprecht FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis apetala subsp. arctica (Th. Fries) Hultén FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis apetala subsp. attenuata (Farr) Maguire FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis apetala var. arctica (Th. Fries) Cody FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis apetala var. attenuata (Farr) C.L. Hictchcock FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis apetala var. glabra Regel FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis apetala var. nutans B. Boivin FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis attenuata Farr FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis nesophila Holm FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Lychnis soczavianum (Schischkin) J.P. Anderson FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Melandrium apetalum (Linnaeus) Fenzl TROPICOS
Melandrium apetalum subsp. arcticum (Th. Fries) Hultén FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Melandrium apetalum subsp. attenuata (Farr) H. Hara FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Melandrium apetalum var. arcticum (Th. Fries) Simmons IPNI
Melandrium apetalum var. glabrum (Regel) Hultén FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Silene attenuata (Farr) Bocquet FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Silene uralensis subsp. apetala (Linnaeus) Bocquet TROPICOS
Silene uralensis subsp. arctica (Th. Fries) Bocquet FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Silene uralensis subsp. attenuata (Farr) McNeill FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Silene uralensis var. mollis (Chamisso & Schlechtendal) Bocquet FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Silene wahlbergella Chowdhuri TROPICOS
Silene wahlbergella subsp. artica (Th. Fries) Hultén FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Silene wahlbergella subsp. attenuata (Farr) Hultén FNA Ed. Comm., 2005
Wahlbergella apetala (Linneaus) Fries TROPICOS
Wahlbergella attenuata (Farr) Rydberg

Subspecies

*See note at the beginning of the Identification and Information section
Silene uralensis ssp. ogilviensis
Silene uralensis ssp. porsildii
Silene uralensis ssp. uralensis (dominant in Alaska)

Genus: Silene
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Order: Caryophyllales
taxonomic heirarchy

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

Identification and Information

I want to preface this section by mentioning that Flora of North America describes Silene uralensis as a “very variable species complex.” This variability can be attributed to its wide geographical range, ability to hybridize with others of the genus, and the diverse ecological niches it occupies. As a result, different sources often disagree on the classification and subspecies of Silene uralensis. Both ITIS and VASCAN agree that there are three subspecies: Silene uralensis subsp. ogilviensis, Silene uralensis subsp. porsildii, and Silene uralensis subsp. uralensis. However, these sources list over 30 different synonyms for these subspecies, highlighting the complexity and variability in the study of this species. Most sources indicate that subsp. uralensis is the dominant subspecies in Alaska.



Silene uralensis is a tufted perennial herb with a stout taproot and a simple or branched stem base (ssp. uralensis is almost always simple). The stems are erect, densely hairy, and 5-30 cm tall. There are typically numerous flowering stems per plant. The basal leaves grow in tufts and are linear to narrowly oblanceolate, sometimes hairy, with ciliated margins. The stem leaves are opposite, narrower, and smaller than the basal leaves and usually grow in 1-4 pairs.

The flowers are nodding or erect and solitary on each stem. The conspicuously inflated calyx contains 10 prominent, dark purple veins with long purple hairs. The corolla (petals) is lighter purple or pink, barely longer than the calyx. The fruits are 5-valved capsules that are slightly longer than calyx with 10 recurved teeth. The seeds are brown with broad wings.

Subspecies Differentiation (From FNA)

  • Silene uralensis subsp. uralensis:
    Subspecies uralensis is an arctic-alpine taxon. The populations extending through the Rocky Mountains from Alaska to Utah are often called subsp. attenuata. These populations tend to have a less-inflated calyx, slightly longer purple petals, flowers that are angled at less than 45° rather than nodding, and less well-developed cauline leaves. For more information and discussion, see Flora of North America.
  • Silene uralensis subsp. ogilviensis: At least some of the inflorescences are branched with 2 to several flowers. The pedicels are erect to angled but not deflexed except at the tip in flower. Seeds are 2-2.5 mm in diameter. Stems are usually glabrous to sparsely pubescent, slender, and 15-40 cm tall. The corolla slightly exceeds the calyx.
  • Silene uralensis subsp. porsildii: Stems are densely pubescent with purple-septate hairs, stout, and 10-35 cm tall. At least some inflorescences are forked with 1-3(-4) flowers. The corolla is usually about 1.5 times the length of the calyx. Seeds are 2-2.5 mm in diameter.

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Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

No traditional, medicinal, or culinary uses were found.


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Distribution and Habitat

Map data from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), NatureServe Explorer, and Kew

Silene uralensis follows a roughly circumboreal distribution across Alaska, most of Canada, Siberia, Japan, Svalbard, and parts of Scandinavia. Its range extends down through the Rocky Mountain States in the United States, primarily in alpine areas.

S. uralensis is a primarily alpine species living on talus slopes and alpine meadows.

Classification

RankCommon Name (Scientific Name)
KingdomPlantae (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants))
InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants)
SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
ClassMagnoliopsida 
SuperorderCaryophyllanae 
OrderCaryophyllales 
FamilyCaryophyllaceae (pinks, cariophyllacées)
GenusSilene L. (silènes, campion, catchfly)
SpeciesSilene uralensis (cockle, mountain campion, apetalous catchfly)
 Direct Children:
SubspeciesSilene uralensis ssp. ogilviensis (apetalous catchfly)
SubspeciesSilene uralensis ssp. porsildii (largefruit catchfly)
SubspeciesSilene uralensis ssp. uralensis (apetalous catchfly)

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References and Further Reading

Guidebook

none

Classification and Taxonomy

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=20133#null

Canadensys. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/4406?lang=en

Canadensys. (2024). Silene uralensis subsp. uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/4407

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=SIUR

Uses

none

Map and Distribution

Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://www.gbif.org/species/5384767

Plants of the World Online. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://powo.science.kew.org/taxon/urn:lsid:ipni.org:names:236392-2

NatureServe Explorer. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.130334/Silene_uralensis

Description and Information

Flora of North America. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from http://floranorthamerica.org/Silene_uralensis

Flora of North America Editorial Committee. (n.d.). Silene uralensis subsp. uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from http://floranorthamerica.org/Silene_uralensis_subsp._uralensis.

University of Alaska Fairbanks, Alaska Center for Conservation Science. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://ecologicalatlas.uaf.edu/index.php/browse-plant-species/atlas-page/?nps_id=1880

E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia. (2024). Silene uralensis. Retrieved June 10, 2024, from https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca

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