Silene laciniata Cav. ssp. major C. Hitchc. & Maguire

Indian Pink
Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)


Indian pink is an erect, weak-stemmed, glandular-pubescent, herbaceous perennial that grows 1'-3' tall from a fleshy taproot. The leaves are opposite, linear-lanceolate, and 2" to 4" long, the upper somewhat reduced.  The flowers are terminal on the pedicels of a panicle, the pedicels 3/4" to 1-1/2" long and finely woolly, the flowers sometimes in clusters, and ascending to erect.  The calyx is 5-cleft and tubular to 3/4" long, and the corolla is comprised of five scarlet petals each of which is deeply 4-cleft into linear lobes and has two broad, toothed appendages, which together form a ± raised ring around the inner part of the flower.  There are ten stamens only slightly longer than the petals, and a pistil with three exserted style-branches. The fruit is an oblong to ovoid capsule with reddish-brown seeds.  Sometimes called fringed indian pink, this species of Silene is common on grassy or brushy slopes and shaded areas below 5000' in coastal sage scrub, chaparral and oak woodland, ranging from Baja to central California and blooming from May to July.  The genus Silene is referred to collectively as catchfly because of the stickiness of the herbage, which often traps insects.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Silene 2) laciniata 3) major.
Pronunciation: sy-LEE-nee las-in-ee-AY-ta MAY-jor.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.