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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Silene (Campion genus)

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Eudicotyledons > Core Eudicots > Order: Caryophyllales > Family: Caryophyllaceae

About 700 species (Eurasia, Africa and North America), with 12 species native to southern Africa, four species that are naturalised, and a further eight species that are cultivated in the region.

Species native to southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI), Flora of Zimbabwe and Flora of Mozambique.

Silene armeria

Recorded from Zimbabwe.


Silene bellidioides

Perennial herb growing to a height of 0.25 - 0.9 m and widespread in southern Africa.

Silene bellidoides Disturbed coastal thicket, Brenton-On-Sea (Western Cape, South Africa).

Silene burchellii

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Silene crassifolia


Silene dewinteri


Silene dinteri


Silene eckloniana


Silene mundiana


Silene ornata


Silene primuliflora


Silene thunbergiana


Silene undulata

See Flora of Zimbabwe.


Species naturalised in southern Africa

List from Plants of Southern Africa - an Online Checklist (SANBI).

Silene cretica

[= Silene clandestina]

Native to the Mediterranean region.


Silene gallica

An annual herb 0.15 to 0.45 m high. Native to Europe, naturalised in southern Africa where it occurs as a weed in disturbed places.

Silene gallica In weedy area on coastal plain, Kleinmond Nature Reserve (Western Cape, South Africa).

Silene pendula


Silene vulgaris (Sea campion)

Native to Europe.


Other species, cultivated in southern Africa

Information from Glen (2002).

Silene armeria (None-so-pretty)

Native to Europe.


Silene coeli-rosa

Indigenous from Spain to Italy and in North Africa.


Silene compacta

Native to SE Europe.


Silene dioica (Red campion)

Native to NW Europe.


Silene fortunei

Native to China.


Silene linicola

Native to Italy.


Silene schafta

Native to the Caucassus


Silene viridiflora

Native to Europe.



  • Glen, H.F. 2002. Cultivated Plants of Southern Africa. Jacana, Johannesburg.

  • Nkonki, T. 2003. Caryophyllaceae. In Germishuizen, G. & Meyer, N.L. (eds), Plants of southern Africa: an annotated checklist. Strelitzia 14: 350-354. National Botanical Institute, Pretoria.