The perfect silene? Silene acaulis

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Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27
The perfect silene? Silene acaulis

... for kicking off this discussion, anyway. Due to its circumpolar distribution, Silene acaulis is one that I'm sure will be familar to forumists worldwide. It seems to me to be omnipresent in the alpine zone in this area, challenged in abundance perhaps only by Dryas octopetala... ? (NB. These are only my biased observations from limited exposure to the area. Please feel free to question, challenge, or vehemently deny! :))
It occurs in a variety of settings, seemingly tolerant of the range of moisture conditions, from high snowfall areas to dry, windy ridges (#1-4).

Such a common plant and yet so beautiful... could one wish for greater flower density? (#5-7)

The flexibility of S. acaulis in seeming to bend over and down and around the angular edges of rocks, makes it sort of the Gumby of local flora. (Ouch, I think I tore something in that painful stretch for a metaphor! ;D) (#8, 9)

And, if it was possible to have a favourite from the thousands of individuals, this would be it (#10). This mat of S. acaulis has had an interesting history in its elegantly-barren, high alpine location... "an island in a sea of scree". (Thanks, Maggi - that expresses it wonderfully!) I'm tempted to try to find it again next summer, just to see how it's doing.

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

And.... it is possible to grow reasonably easily (at least in this dry, cold, relatively high elevation area).  This plant is in a trough, and after a couple of years, is starting to pay its rent with some bloom.

And a parting close-up of an intensely-coloured wild plant...

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Silene acaulis seemed to be very precocious from seed for me.

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

And watch what you say about Gumbies . . . .

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

RickR wrote:

Silene acaulis seemed to be very precocious from seed for me.

Indeed!  A terrific flower-to-plant ratio at this stage, too, hey?

RickR wrote:

And watch what you say about Gumbies . . . .

Wow - I had no idea you held the National Collection!  :o ;D

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

Boland
Boland's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-09-25

Panayoti is the Gumbie king!  :o

Silene acaulis does pretty good for us in Newfoundland as well..in cultivation they certainly grow faster than in the wild.

I got the alba form from Maria Galetti.....not sure her source on this one....she may have found it in Newfoundland as she has done a lot of collecting here.

Todd Boland
St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Zone 5b
1800 mm precipitation per year

Booker
Booker's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2010-01-30

This beautiful Silene acaulis was growing within fifty feet of a cable car station in the Dolomites and was (amazingly) totally ignored by the vast proportion of those passing by.

Cliff Booker A.K.A. Ranunculus
On the moors in Lancashire, U.K.
Usually wet, often windy, sometimes cold ... and that's just me!

RickR
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-09-21

Boland wrote:

Panayoti is the Gumbie king!

Oh my, is this a closet gene attached to the "I love plants" gene that we all have here?  Are there any other bendy fetishers out there?

Okay Panayoti, show us your stuff.

----------------------------

Todd, do you find the alba form flowers more or less than the type?

Rick Rodich    zone 4a.    Annual precipitation ~24 inches
near Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Beautiful, Cliff!  It's always a surprise what people notice... or, more often, don't.  When people start birdwatching, for example, they are always absolutely astounded to see brilliantly-coloured birds (e.g. yellow warblers, goldfinches, orioles, etc.)... yet they don't realize that the birds were always there, they just didn't notice them before!  Hmmm, I'm sure there's a very relevant analogy in there somewhere...  ;D

The photos I posted show some colour variations, but I have yet to see a white one here... will be on the lookout, though.

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

ClifflineGardens
ClifflineGardens's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2013-01-14

For those of you that have grown Silene acaulis, does it brown out in the Winter?

ClifflineGardens dot com

Fort Collins, CO zone 5b

Lori S.
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-10-27

Oddly enough, I don't have any photos I could refer to in answering your question (probably because my little plants have not been exciting enough to take lots of pictures of!)  I just went out in the dark with a flashlight to look but they are snow covered... will excavate them and take a look tomorrow though, unless someone else answers first.  I'm tempted to guess it would be evergreen but then I think of other deciduous mat-forming Silene.... hmmm...??

Lori
Calgary, Alberta, Canada - Zone 3
-30 C to +30 C (rarely!); elevation ~1130m; annual precipitation ~40 cm

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