Bladder Campion

June 13, 2010 at 11:50 pm 5 comments

Bladder Campion was blessed with one of the least graceful names in the plant world, right up there with Pale Swallowwort and Clammy Ground Cherry.

Like many of the flowers in our cities, Bladder Campion is not native to North America. European settlers brought it to the new world for their gardens. This plant took readily to waste spaces, spreading gleefully into gravelly roadsides and abandoned fields.

Several other Campion species were also brought over from Europe. To distinguish this one from the others, note that Bladder Campion has the most impressive, well, bladder (the green tic tac-shaped object just below the white petals), and other Campions have hairy bladders. As an urban botanist, it’s your duty to loudly point out facts like this to your friends, especially at parties.

When I was a kid, my friends and I used to torment these plants by holding the bladders shut to trap air, and then clapping them with our hands so that they would make a loud pop. (Plant nerds: the inflated-looking part is called the calyx, the modified leaves that enclose a young flower.)

This flower will be blooming until September, so keep an eye out as you walk down the street. The Latin name for this flower is Silene cucubalus.


Entry filed under: Herbaceous plants.

Norway Maple

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lynn  |  June 23, 2010 at 2:32 am

    One of my favourite plant names is bunga tahi ayam, literally translated as chicken sh*t flower, because that’s exactly what it smells like. šŸ˜€

  • 2. Jacelyn  |  June 29, 2010 at 12:10 am

    I *think* I saw these the other day – I’m learnin’, I’m learnin’!

  • 3. naturalist.charlie  |  July 14, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    it’s okay to torment non-native plants! Today I spent way too much time popping impatiens pallida pods. True, this is not an invasive plant but by doing so I help spread the seeds too.

  • 4. Black ops  |  November 6, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Thankfully some bloggers can still write. Thanks for this piece!

    • 5. Urban Botany  |  February 6, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      Thanks for your kind words!


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