Bladder Campion

2016 December 24

These were blooming in some profusion alongside our road on June 29, 2016.


The leaves aren’t very distinctive,


but the peculiar bladder-like structure surrounding the seed pod and base of the flower is pretty much unmistakeable


These are Bladder Campion, Silene vulgaris, also known as “Maiden’s Tears”.


Once the flower is pollenated, the petals fall away, and the seedpod ripens inside the bladder.



I don’t have pictures of it here, but the ripe pod eventually pops open, scattering tiny little seeds out of the end of the bladder. I don’t think they shoot out with any force, but the waving of the ripe pod in the wind scatters them for several feet, at least.

Anyway, this appears to be my first representative of the order Caryophyllales, which is an extremely diverse group that includes things like cacti, carnations, beets, and a number of carnivorous plants.

Bladder campion is non-native (no surprise there), having come over from Europe – probably by accident, as its tiny seeds would be easily carried in soil or agricultural products. I mostly find them growing in disturbed soil and beside roads, where there isn’t a lot of competition. Something I didn’t know until just this minute, is that they are actually edible, to the point where it is part of the cuisine in Greece, Italy, and Spain. Huh. The leaves and young shoots are supposed to be good in risotto, or fried in olive oil, or in garbanzo bean stew. Well, what do you know? We should try it next summer, we certainly won’t have any trouble finding some!

3 Responses
  1. December 25, 2016

    Merry Christmas, amigo!

  2. barb quenzi permalink
    December 27, 2016

    I like your plant reports, I am also looking forward to tasting this plant when summer comes.

  3. January 1, 2017

    Thanks, Barb.

    And Happy New Year, everybody!

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