CAMPION – WHITE (Silene alba)

Europe, Asia, N Africa



Large, creamy WHITE flowers of this plant, a favourite with flower arrangers, seem to glow in the dark.

‘White Campion is a common wildflower that grows in fields, along hedgerows and roadside verges, and on waste ground. It flowers throughout the summer, but it’s actually at night when the blooms produce a heady scent, attracting many feeding moths.’


White campion is a sunlover; it is drought tolerant but does not do well on waterlogged soils. Seed recovered from archaeological digs and house demolitions is said to have germinated after 70 years burial.

White Campion

Bees’ Favourite.

The pollen of White Campion attracts bees, hoverflies and other insects, such as the Elephant Hawkmoth, by day; its flowers remain open after dusk for night-flying moths.


“During the reign of Elizabeth I this species was made into a soothing drink, combining it with sugar and wine. In more modern times, the roots are known to be toxic to the larvae of mosquitoes and are used as a deterrent in areas where mosquitoes are problematic. Some people still boil up the roots to make soap.”


The flowering season for Silene alba in the UK, according to Horwood, was from June to July in 1919. It now blooms from May to September.

Botanical painting by J.N.Fitch


A R Horwood, The Gresham Publishing Company, 1919

Other names: Bladder Campion, Bull Rattle, Catchfly, Cow-rattle, Cuckoo Flower, Evening Close, Evening Lychnis, Flower of the Dead, Flycatcher, Gooseberry Pie, Grandma’s Nightcap, Grave Flower, Plum-puddings, Thunderbolts, White Cockle, White Rattle, White Robin.