Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Silene acaulis
moss campion

Distribution: Occurring in the Cascades and Olympic Mountains in Washington; Alaska to Oregon, east to the Rocky Mountains, and east across Canada to northeastern North America; circumboreal.

Habitat: Rock crevices and talus slopes at high elevations in the mountains

Flowers: June-August

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Cushion-like perennial from a woody root and branched crown, forming dense mats up to 3 dm. broad; flowering stems 3-6 cm. tall.


Leaves mostly basal, staying attached for many years, linear to linear-lanceolate, sessile, 4-10 mm. long, glabrous or scabrous.


Flowers single, from nearly sessile or with peduncles up to 4 cm. long, usually dioecious; calyx tubular, 5-lobed, 3-10 mm. long, pinkish; petals 5, pink to lavender, 8-12 mm. long, the claw about twice as long as the blade; blade appendages 2, very small or lacking; stamens 10; styles 3.


Capsule 3-celled, opening by 6 teeth.

Accepted Name:
Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq.
Publication: Enum. Stirp. Vindob. 78, 242. 1762.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Cucubalus acaulis L.
Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq. ssp. exscapa (All.) DC.
Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq. var. exscapa (All.) DC. [HC]
Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq. var. subacaulescens (F.N. Williams) Fernald & H. St. John [HC]
Silene exscapa All.
Xamilensis acaulis (L.) Tzvelev
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Silene acaulis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Silene acaulis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Silene acaulis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Silene acaulis photos.

USDA Plants: Silene acaulis information.

40 photographs:
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