Clustered Campion
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Clustered Campion
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Clustered Campion
Botanical name: Silene caespitella    Family: Caryophyllaceae (Carnation family)
Synonyms: Silene maheshwarii, Melandrium neocaespitosum, Melandrium xainzaense

Clustered Campion is a perennial herb 13-40 cm tall. Stems are clustered, erect, green, velvet-hairy throughout. Basal and lower stem leaves are green on both surfaces, linear, 4-7 cm long, 2-5 mm wide, margin hairy, midvein prominent, surface hairy only at veins or hairless, base narrow, tip pointed. Upper leaves are 3 or 4 pairs, stalkless, linear, gradually smaller upward. Flowers are up to 20, in an irregular cluster with long- and shortly stalked, 3-5-flowered clusters, sharply nodding, becoming erect in maturity. Flower-stalks are short. Sepal cup is narrowly cylindric-bell-shaped, soon becoming broader as capsule swells, 5-7 x 2.5-3 mm, rounded at base, open at tip, weakly hairy, veins dark green to blackish red, teeth triangular, about 2.5 mm, margin membranous, hairy, tip pointed. Petals protrude out 1-2 mm beyond sepals, greenish or white, shallowly two-lobed. Stamens and styles remain inside. Capsule is spherical, about 8 mm, slightly longer than sepal cup. Seeds are gray, spherical-kidney-shaped, about 0.8 mm. This species is closely related to Silene nepalensis, from which it differs in its linear leaves and smaller flowers. Clustered Campion is found in the Himalayas, from Kashmir, Ladakh to Bhutan, SE Tibet, SW China, at altitudes of 2500-5100 m. Flowering: June-July.

Identification credit: Bernhard Dickore
Photographed in Nubra Valley, Ladakh.
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