Moss campion – Silene acaulis

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Moss campion

Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq
cushion pink
compass plant

Genus: Silene
Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Order: Caryophyllales

Type: Perennial (evergreen)
Edible: Not advisable – some history of consumption of roots in Iceland [1]

Identification

Flower: Pink, small, 5-petaled (lilac-like smell)
Leaves: Narrow, bright green, densely packed (moss-like)
Root: Long taproot reaching between crevices in rocks

Moss campion is a cushion-like plant with 6-12mm (1/4-1/2 in) diameter, pink or whitish-pink 5-petal flowers, and 10 stamens. The leaves are bright green, short and narrow, giving the appearance of moss. Moss campion grows in rocky, sandy, dry alpine areas with full sun. These “cushions range in diameter from a few centimeters up to 30 cm (1 foot) in diameter and are only 5-15 cm (2-6 inches) tall. The flowers themselves usually don’t rise much above the leaves, but sometimes rise a few centimeters above the cushion.

Alaska Wildflowers

References

Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq., ITIS Report
Silene acaulis – (L.)Jacq., Plants For A Future
Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 19

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