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    Linnaeus named the Silene genus in 1753 for Silenus, the drunken foster-father of the Greek God Bacchus.  Silenus was often covered with foam from his drunkenness, and perhaps the sticky secretions of many of the Silenes gave rise to this name.

Silene antirrhina
Silene antirrhina (Sleepy Catchfly)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 5, 2005.

Catchfly is common throughout North America, and is, according to the 2005 Flora of North America, "very plastic, being greatly affected by moisture, exposure, and nutrients".  But it is such a slender plant that it is inconspicuous and seldomly noticed.  Basal and stem leaves are sparse, short, and narrow.  Areas of the stem are often quite sticky and bugs are trapped on the plant, but Silene antirrhina is not a carnivorous plant.  Flowers range from white through light pink.

"Antirrhina" could be from the Greek for "against" "nose" but William Weber indicates that the name means "with leaves like [those of the plant] Antirrhinum".

Silene antirrhina
Silene antirrhina (Sleepy Catchfly)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring.
Corona Arch Trail, April 13, 2005.

A close look at a seemingly mundane plant shows graceful beauty.

Silene antirrhina
Silene antirrhina (Sleepy Catchfly)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Semi-desert. Shrublands, openings. Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, April 27, 2005.

 

 

Silene drummondii

Silene drummondii.  Synonyms: Gastrolychnis drummondii, Lychnis drummondii. (Drummond's Catchfly).
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Montane, subalpine, alpine.  Woodlands, openings. Summer.
Highland Mary Lakes Trail, July 21, 2010.

Silene drummondii is most easily spotted by looking for its tuft of bright basal leaves.  The long, lanky stems, typically growing to eighteen inches, are difficult to see against the meadow background, and flowers are no easier to spot: petals (either pink or white) 

Silene drummondii

are but several millimeters long; the 15 millimeter long calyx is a bit more noticeable with its 10 veins and glandular hairiness  (which makes the calyx quite sticky).

William Jackson Hooker named the species Silene drummondii in 1830, probably from a specimen collected by Thomas Drummond, naturalist and explorer of North America.  (Click for more biographical information about Drummond.)  The botanists, Löve and Löve, believed that this species should be in the Gastrolychnis genus; the Greek "gastridos" means "pot-bellied".

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Silene antirrhina

Range map for Silene drummondii