Armchair botanizing for Extreme Silene

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Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Today my armchair travels too me to the vast expanses of Plantarium Russia (a site for the vascular plants of Russia and neighboring countries).  Nearly 400 Silene species are listed with maybe half of them being synonyms, that's still a lot of Silene.  There are photos for only some species listed, so rather than wade through hundreds of photos, and finding lots of ugly weedy Silene species (many are of that persuasion), I list selected links to species that caught my attention and rock-gardening sensibilities.

The homepage for this site is: http://www.plantarium.ru/
Unless you speak or read Russian, it is imperative to have the Google Translate plugin installed into your internet browser, otherwise you won't know what buttons to click on.  There are extensive collections of plant photos on this site, very worthwhile browsing through.  In fair use, I include one screen shot of Silene lacera (Oberna lacera) from Dagestan, photo links below. 

Oberna lacera, Dagestan (Syn. Silene lacera, Behenantha lacera)
Looks like a silene to me, but a special treasure, sparse crinkly basal leaves, prostrate red stems, plump chestnut red calyxes and ultra-fringy white flowers, stunning rock garden gem.
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/31379.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/5522.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/31378.html

Silene repens, Altai steppe, 1700m, (syn. S. amoena)
Photo of a plant past flowering, not stupendous but low growing.
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/76038.html
...a plant in fine flower:
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/48523.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/48042.html

Silene chlorantha, The Republic of Tatarstan
a tall, slender, elegant weed (call me crazy, but I like these types of weird plants)
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/61466.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/11013.html

Silene dubia, Carpathian Mountains (Syn. S. nutans ssp. dubia)
Distinctive, compact foliage, tallish slender stems and nodding slender cream flowers.
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/23895.html

Silene graminifolia, Tien Shan Mts
grassy basal foliage and refined light pink and white flowers
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/3376.html

Silene humilis, Dagestan
Distinctive!  Prostrate, wooly gray leaves, narrow upright red flowers
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/31360.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/31362.html

Silene jailensis, Crimea
Rock garden gem, mats of thrifty foliage, nearly stemless round white flowers with red calyxes, photos show it is quite variable
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/78729.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/78728.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/25846.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/25843.html

Silene guntensis, Southern Kazakhstan, (Syn. S. apiculata, incanescens, kuhistanica)
low but loose tangle, narrow white flowers, just okay
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/72466.html

Silene kuschakewiczii, Southern Kazakhstan, 2800 m (Syn. S. apiculata, hispidula, kuhistanica)
low mats, pale pink, narrow dark calyx, another just okay species.
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/75681.html

Gastrolychnis tristis, Republic of Tuva, 1800 m (Syn: Silene bungei, Lychnis tristis, Melandrium triste)
Oh my, fantastic nodding inflated calyxes of white veined dark purple, red-violet petals, neat upright plant.  Reminiscent of S. nigrescens.
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/16347.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/76370.html

Silene caucasica, Dagestan
nice low grower with trim white blooms and red calyxes
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/49760.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/49759.html

Silene chamarensis, Altai, 2900 m
another medium-low white-flowered one
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/75268.html
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/75269.html

Silene paucifolia, Urals,  (Syn. S. chamarensis ssp. paucifolia, S. tenuis ssp. paucifolia)
choice dwarf plant, neat linear foliage, plump white calyxes and frilly white flowers.
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/73195.html
...in bud
http://www.plantarium.ru/page/image/id/72710.html

Another installment forthcoming...

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

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

Some incredible gems there!  I'll be keeping a lookout for seeds!

As we eagerly await the next installment of extreme delights, here's another Silene, not so exotic-looking as many of those, but pretty - Silene saxifraga:
 

Some of our native ones can be pretty showy too, with attractive veining on the calyx, such as Silene parryi:
 
Hmmm, wait a minute... this next one seems to be something other than S. parryi... maybe S. furcata?

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

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Wow, Mark-- I like almost every one of those!

Lori, S parryi seems very nice and looks like it should be growable based on the habitat..

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

Lori, two more worthy entries into the "Silene worth growing" class! :D

From your post on Prunus prostrata with a link on a Visit West Crete" tourist site, I checked out their plant photos, many of which are excellent.  I found an even better photo of Silene variegata from Crete, so I updated the earlier post:
http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=80.msg6769#msg6769
...or go to:
http://www.west-crete.com/flowers/silene_variegata.htm

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

McDonough wrote:

Close-up of Silene variegata, a dwarf succulent-leaved species from Crete, from the Flickr photo galleries of Nick Turland.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nturland/1363389276/

Updated: an even better set of photos from "Visit West Crete" site.
This species takes the prize for one of the most desirable small rock garden Silene ever!
http://www.west-crete.com/flowers/silene_variegata.htm

Amazing plant, for sure! I wonder just how hardy 1300 to 2400 m in Crete makes it?

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Mark McD
Title: Moderator
Joined: 2009-12-14

One never knows, but some mountain plants from the region, at even lower elevations, can be hardy.  Take for example the marvelous late summer blooming (and night blooming) Cyprus endemic Saponaria cypria, found at 1350-1950 meters in the Troodos Mountains, it has been perfectly hardy outdoors for the past 10 years... see: http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=325.msg3153#msg3153

Mark McDonough
Massachusetts, USA, near the New Hampshire border USDA Zone 5
antennaria at aol.com
 

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

McDonough wrote:

One never knows, but some mountain plants from the region, at even lower elevations, can be hardy.  Take for example the marvelous late summer blooming (and night blooming) Cyprus endemic Saponaria cypria, found at 1350-1950 meters in the Troodos Mountains, it has been perfectly hardy outdoors for the past 10 years... see: http://nargs.org/smf/index.php?topic=325.msg3153#msg3153

Troodos Mountains even have a ski resort!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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

cohan wrote:

Amazing plant, for sure! I wonder just how hardy 1300 to 2400 m in Crete makes it?

Within reason, of course (for example, this does not apply to tropicals  ;D), I think one can only be sure by actually growing the plant!  There seems to be so many exceptions to what one might expect in terms of hardiness, that only the results from trying it one's self are of much value.  (And zone ratings are almost always absolute rubbish but don't get me started on that!  ;D)

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

cohan
cohan's picture
Title: Guest
Joined: 2011-02-03

Quite true, Lori-- I guess a lot of plants carry excess hardiness in their genes from past lives  ;D We are currently z3 on the map  :rolleyes: but I'm sure all the natives are good to z2 (which is more like our actual minimums, even if they are not common) , and probably colder..

I still don't mind seeing a zone rating if its based on temperature in habitat still not an absolute, and by no means the only factor, but its a starting point, especially for me now-- there are thousands of plants I'd love to try, so I figure I might as well start with those that at least come from someplace that gets moderately cold  ;D eg, if I see several related species listed in Alplains catalogue, and one is zone 3 or 4, and others 6 or 7, I can start with the 3 or 4 and try others later (or wait and see how they did in your garden ;) ).. no guarantees ever of course...

west central alberta, canada; just under 1000m; record temps:min -45C/-49F;max 34C/93F; http://picasaweb.google.ca/cactuscactus  http://urbanehillbillycanada.blogspot.com/

Hoy
Hoy's picture
Title: Member
Joined: 2009-12-15

I can't trust your (I mean the USDA) hardiness ratings at all! The winters here are Z8 (not the last 2 years - they have been more like Z7!) but the summers are not!

Trond
Rogaland, Norway - with cool, often rainy summers  (29C max) and mild, often rainy winters (180 cm/year)!

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