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Archive for the ‘Family: Pink’ Category

I just saw this flower blooming in the gravel by the train station in the Southwest of Sweden. Pretty nondescript, I didn’t even realize it was a flower until I happened to look a little closer. After some digging, I believe this is a Corn Spurry (or spurrey, or in Swedish åkerspärgel). I’d never heard of a spurry before, and it turns out they are a member of the pink family. These are different than the rest of the pinks, though, because the petals aren’t notched. There are only 2 spurries in Sweden, the åkerspärgel and the vårspärgel. I think this is the former because it wasn’t standing upright.

Corn Spurry (Åkerspärgel), July in southwest Sweden

Corn Spurry (Åkerspärgel), July in southwest Sweden

I think I’ve identified it correctly, but I can’t be too sure because it was a little blue/purple and it is described as white. It is such a pleasure to find such a cute new flower to add to my collection, hiding among weeds and making an otherwise boring area by the train tracks a little prettier.

Corn Spurry (Åkerspärgel), July in southwest Sweden

Corn Spurry (Åkerspärgel), July in southwest Sweden

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I found this flower growing in June in Western Massachusetts in an overgrown field. At first I didn’t notice the flowers, just the odd veined sacks (or bladders) that the flowers protrude from. The Bladder Campion, or Silene cucubalus, was introduced in the U.S. from Europe.

Bladder Campion, Western Massachusetts in June

The veined balloon-like sack that makes this flower so identifiable is called a calyx. The stem and leaves are smooth, leaves are stalkless and it grows from 8 to 18 inches tall. Often found in dry soil, roadsides, boarders of fields and waste places.

Bladder Campion, Western Massachusetts in June

This plant is edible – the young leaves can be cooked green. The tender young leaves, picked when the plant is only a few inches high, can be boiled for 10 minutes and served with butter or vinegar. This can taste a little bitter, but this is due to a harmless amount of the toxin saponin (reference: Peterson Field Guides: Edible Wild Plants of Eastern/Central North America).

I found this old drawing in “Who’s Who Among the Wild Flowers” and the picture posted by the Connecticut Botanical Society shows more of the flowers than my photos.

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In my walk through the woods on the edge of Stockholm the first weekend of June, I found this beautiful flower with 5 cleft petals.  It is called a Red Campion, even though it is quite pink.  In Swedish, it is called Rödblära.  This flower blooms from May to August here in Sweden usually in damp woods or shady hedges where the soil is rich.

Red Campion (Rödblära), Stockholm, Sweden

Red Campions (from the Pink family) are medium/tall hairy perennials and can have many different shades of pink or red due to hybridization with white campions.  The Latin name is Silene dioica.  “Dioica” comes from the fact that male and female flowers are born on seperate plants.  The males have 10 stamens and a 10-veined calyx whereas females have 5 stamens and a 20-veined calyx.  In this photo, you can see the hairy stems and leaves.

Red Campion (Rödblära), Stockholm, Sweden (June 2011)

Red Campion (Rödblära), Stockholm, Sweden

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When I went to Öland in May, I biked along a path on the edge of some woods where a great number of different wildflowers were growing.  These white star-like flowers stood out because of their petals that seemed to be in pairs.  Looking closer, there are not 10 petals but 5 that are cleft to halfway.  Greater Stitchwort is found in woods and not in wet places.  Stitchworts (and chickweeds) in general have 5 white petals that are deeply cleft.  In Swedish, this plant is called Buskstjärnblomma.  Taking apart the name, it looks like Busk Star Flower.  I can’t figure out what Busk means, but maybe it’s a name?  It is a fitting name and much prettier than ‘stitchwort’.

Greater Stitchwort (Buskstjärnblomma), Öland, Sweden

Greater Stitchwort (Buskstjärnblomma), Öland, Sweden

Greater Stitchwort (Buskstjärnblomma), Öland, Sweden

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