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Lindsay's Flora Blog - 25th May

Posted: Monday 25th May 2020 by trustadmin

Bladder Campion SIlene Vulgaris

This plant is interesting because it is very common on Alderney but rare on Guernsey and, I understand, absent entirely from Sark and Herm.

It is a medium-tall plant that is usually hairless and greyish - it protects itself from drying out with a bluish green covering of wax. It has creamy white five-petalled flowers but occasionally the flowers are pink and I usually find some of these at the bottom of the Community Woodland on the bank above the railway track.

It gets its common name from the bladder-like calyx (a bulge made-up of the fused sepals) just behind the flowers. The layer of air inside the calyx insulates the flower’s more delicate inner parts from heat. The flower’s petals can lose their water content during the day and wilt, but in the evening they return to normal and start to secrete a pleasant, clove-like fragrance. Bladder Campion is visited by night butterflies, but its nectar also attracts small beetles, flower flies and bees.

On mainland Britain it is found growing in meadows, grasslands and fields, and along hedgerows and roadside verges. On Alderney it is mainly coastal and is in bloom from May to September.

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