CAMPION – RED (Silene dioica)

Europe

BIG RED CAMPION crop

 

Called Cuckooflower because its appearance in springtime has coincided with the arrival of the Cuckoo, Red Campion flowers from May to October along roads, in shady woodlands & on rocky hillsides.

Visited for its nectar by hoverflies, long-tongued bumblebees, butterflies (Brimstone, Green-veined White, Orange Tip & Small White) & several species of moth, it prefers soil that is damp & non-acid.

‘We have seven native varieties (of Campion), the most common of which is red campion – Silene dioica. This perennial has carmine-pink flowers and is often seen growing along roads and hedges in the bluebell season.”

Val Bourne in The Telegraph

 

Silene dioica is named for Silenus, Greek mythology’s drunken, merry god of the woodlands. ‘the old rustic god of the dance of the wine press, his names being derived from ‘seio’, ‘to move to and fro’, and ‘lenos’, ‘the wine trough’.

www.theoi.com/Georgikos/Seilinos/html

“Red Campion, it seems, was known as a ‘snake plant’ and ‘of the devil’ or a goblin. Apparently, according to one ancient source, ‘wanton maids’ wore it under their bodice to entice young men!”

 

Richard Meyers, NATURE’S FORGOTTEN FOLKLORE: MYTHS and MAGIC in ISLINGTON,

 Islington Council

 

RED CAMPION along walkway to ecology centre, spring 2014 CLARIFIED

Red Campion and Oxeye Daisy welcome visitors using walkway to Ecology Centre, Gillespie Park

WRC1 Red Campion cropped

Our own Red Campion came from a wildflower sale at the Ecology Centre. It grows in Gillespie Park behind the Centre, at the foot of the rock garden by the small pools.

Other names: Adders Flower, ‘Blaa ny ferrishyn’ (Fairy Flower) on the Isle of Man, Catchfly, Cirean Coileach (in Gaelic) on the Hebridean Isles, Drunkards, Fingers and Thumbs, Gipsy Flower, Gramfer Jan, Gramfer Griggles, Jack in the Lantern, Johnny Woods, Kettle Smocks, Little Red Riding Hood, Mary Janes, Red Catchfly, Robin Hood.