Mystery silene

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

I planted this as "Silene jenisseensis", but while this plant is supposed to form a hard dome, my did not and was stoloniferous to boot... I pulled it out this spring (and sprigs are still coming up here and there). It blooms in late summer here. Foliage got to about 4" tall, reddish on emergence in spring. Any idea what it actually is?

Edit:
Hmm, on second thought, maybe the other report ("hard dome") is wrong too? I'm confused!!
Here's the eFlora of China description - foliage on my plant seems not out of line:
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?flora_id=2&taxon_id=242000763

And photos - the petal shape, flower size(?) and possibly the flower arrangement are not like mine, though:
http://www.cfh.ac.cn/Album/ShowPhoto.aspx?photoid=3c13fc57-38a8-4470-927...

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

Lori, your plant seems consistent with the Flora of China description, including the height (not sure about the "hard dome" description, was that a nurseryman or seed list description?).  The most compelling is the exserted trifid style, which can be clearly seen in your plant.  The Chinese photo is top down, so hard to gauge height.  The Flora of China also mentions that this is a "difficult group" involving several species, so maybe is rather variable.  I'd like to see a photo of the "slightly inflated" calyxes, the calyx characteristics so important in Silene and Saponaria for identification.

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

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

The reference to "hard cushions" was in the Arrowhead Alpines site:
http://www.arrowhead-alpines.com/sc-sy.htm

It doesn't seem to be consistent with any photos I've found.

These photos make it look tap-rooted:
http://www.plant.ac.cn/tu_page/13/e11004.htm
.... while this one (note the author's disclaimer) suggests the stoloniferous habit of mine:
http://raise.suiri.tsukuba.ac.jp/new/plant_album/p4.htm

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

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

Lori, you really know how to do your homework and find links and photos!  Based on the second two links, I don't think this species is attractiveness enough to warrant risking a stoloniferous or otherwise spreading Silene in the garden; I would be tempted to toss it.

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

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