Fire Pink, Silene virginica

Fire Pink

Silene virginica

Benefits: Pollinator Benefit Graphic
Sun Shade: Plant Light Requirements Graphic
Bloom Time: Spring
Hardiness Zones: 4, 6, 7, 8
Soil Conditions: Loam, Sand
Soil Moisture: Medium, Dry
Color: Pink, Red
Fragrance: No
Height: 1-2 feet
Spacing: 1 foot

Fire Pink (Silene virginica) is an herbaceous clump-forming perennial wildflower with downy and sticky stems that typically grows to 12-20 inches tall. It is native to rocky wooded slopes, open woods and thickets. In This plant features brilliant, scarlet red flowers (2 inches across), each with five spreading, notched-at-the-tip petals plus sepals which are united into a long sticky tube. Flowers bloom in spring atop slender stems clad with narrow, lance-shaped, green leaves. Narrow basal leaves are oblanceolate to spatula-shaped. Narrow stem leaves are wider in the middle than at either end. The blooming period occurs from late spring to mid-summer and lasts about 1½ months. Each flower is replaced by a seed capsule with 6 small teeth along its upper rim. It is broader toward the top than the bottom, and contains several seeds. Each seed is somewhat flattened and orbicular-reniform in shape; its surface is warty or pebbly. The root system consists of a taproot with secondary roots.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants prefer sunny sites in sandy or gravelly soils or in light loams with some part afternoon shade. Plants generally appreciate sharp soil drainage. Some experts believe this plant grows best as a wildflower in its native habitat where it will freely self-seed.

Habitats include openings in upland woodlands, rocky wooded slopes, thinly wooded bluffs, limestone and sandstone cliffs, and clay banks along trails in wooded areas. Fire Pink often occurs along slopes and barren areas where there is scant ground vegetation. Populations of this species will decline if the overhead canopy of trees becomes too dense. Some disturbance from fire and other causes is probably beneficial.

 Plant Notes and Herbal Uses
  Plants perform well on shaded rocky ledges.
  Plants are often short-lived.
 Further Information

 Wisconsin Fruit Trees
 Wisconsin Edible Berry Shrubs
 Widsconsin Edible Plants-Eat On The Wild Side
 8 Dandelion Recipes
 Wisconsin Native Plant Nurseries

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