Silene italica

Silene italica (L.) Pers. (Medit., W-As.) – A very rare, locally naturalized alien. Discovered in abundance in 2005 on a coal mining spoil heap near Charleroi (Damprémy) where it was probably introduced on purpose (wild flower seed mixture). Similarly, recorded since 2007 in a road verge in the port of Gent. At both localities Silene italica looks very well established. In 2011 furthermore discovered on a slope in the valley of river Nete in Steenbeemden and in a road verge near Bree. In 2013 also seen (a single plant) in a roadside in the port area of Gent (Farmanstraat) and in Grote Brogel (population). An up-to-date overview is available here:

Initially confused with native Silene nutans (Verloove 2008). Possibly overlooked elsewhere in Belgium. Records of “Silene nutans” from man-made habitats are suspect and require confirmation. Both species are superficially similar but easily distinguished (see key).

Selected literature:

Jeanmonod D. (1984) Révision de la section Siphonomorpha Otth du genre Silene L. (Caryophyllaceae) en Méditerranée occidentale, 3. Aggrégat italica et espèces affines. Candollea 39: 549-639.

Meissner H. (1957) Silene italica (L.) Pers. im nordwestdeutschen Flachlande. Mitteilungen der floristisch-soziologischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft 6/7: 113.

Melzheimer V. (1981) Zum polymorphismus von Silene italica (Caryophyllaceae) im Sud-Balkan. Bot. Jahrb. Syst. 102: 285-295.

Patouillet R. (1983) Une florule rudérale a Silene italica, adventice thermoxérophile, dans le Bois de Vincennes. Cah. Naturalistes 39(2): 67-71.

Verloove F. (2008) Enkele nieuwe neofyten in België en Noordwest-Frankrijk. Dumortiera 94: 1-8. [available online at:]

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith