Ontario Weeds: Night flowering catchfly
Excerpt from Publication 505, Ontario Weeds,
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Table of Contents
- Other Names
- General Description
- Stems and Roots
- Flowers and Fruit
- Similar Species
- Related Links
Name: Night-flowering catchfly, Silene
Other Names: Sticky cockle, silène noctiflore, silène de nuit, attrape-mouche
Family: Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae)
General Description: Annual or sometimes winter annual, reproducing only by seed.
Night-flowering catchfly. A. Base of annual plant. B. Flowering stem. C. Seedpod with 6 teeth.
Stems & Roots: Stems of flowering
plants 20cm-1m (8-40in.) high, erect, often much-branched near the
top but always single at the ground surface because they start from
seed each year, often with remnants of the cotyledons (seed leaves)
still visible; and the root tapering downwards as a slender taproot
with fine branches;
Leaves: Opposite (2 per node), tapering towards both ends, lower ones widest near the tip, middle and upper ones widest nearer the stem; upper leaves and stem branches densely sticky-hairy;
Flowers & Fruit: Flowers showy, usually opening in the evening but often open throughout the next day as well; sepals light green, united to form a calyx tube with 5 prominent veins lined up with the 5 long-tapered teeth, and 5 less prominent but distinctly branched veins; petals white, creamy-white or pinkish, flaring outwards in a circle 1-3cm (2/5-1¼in.) in diameter, each petal deeply lobed; flowers bisexual, having 10 stamens and 1 pistil, although rarely some may be unisexual; pistil with 3 long styles, becoming an ovoid seedpod which usually opens with 6 teeth and scatters many kidney-shaped, small (0.8-1mm, 1/30-1/25in.), grayish-orange, rough seeds. Flowers from June to August.
Habitat: Night-flowering catchfly grows in much the same situations as White cockle but is more common in cultivated fields and is more widespread through northern Ontario.
Similar Species: It is distinguished by its dense covering of sticky hair on upper stems, leaves and calyx, its calyx with long-tapered teeth and 10 distinctly branching lengthwise veins clearly visible as the seedpod expands inside, its seedpod opening by usually 6 teeth, and its annual or winter annual habit. Very similar in general appearance to White cockle; seedlings nearly identical but are somewhat sticky-hairy.
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