Weed Seed: Silene vulgaris (Bladder campion)

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Common Name

Bladder campion

Regulation

Secondary Noxious, Class 3 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.

Distribution

Canadian: Occurs throughout Canada except in NT and NU (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1). Very common in the eastern provinces (Darbyshire 2003Footnote 2).

Worldwide: Native to northern Africa, Europe and temperate Asia and introduced in North America and South America, South Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 3). In the United States, found in most states except for some in the south (USDA-NRCS 2016Footnote 4).

Duration of life cycle

Perennial

Seed or fruit type

Seed

Identification features

Size

  • Seed length: 1.0 - 1.8 mm
  • Seed width: 1.0 - 1.3 mm

Shape

  • Seed angular D-shaped, compressed, with the hilum in the middle of the flat edge

Surface Texture

  • Seed covered in tubercles arranged in rows

Colour

  • Seed grey to greyish-black
  • Immature seeds are reddish

Other Features

  • Hilum flanked on each side by two long, raised pads with rectangular cells on their surface

Habitat and Crop Association

Cultivated fields, old fields, pastures, hay fields, gardens, shores, gravel pits, roadsides, disturbed areas (Royer and Dickinson 1999Footnote 5, Darbyshire 2003Footnote 2, eFloras 2016Footnote 6). Not a serious weed in cultivated fields but can become weedy in zero to minimum-till fields (Royer and Dickinson 1999Footnote 5).

General Information

Introduction of bladder campion into North America appears to have occurred in the late 18th or early 19th century via ship ballast or contaminated clover seed (Taylor and Keller 2007Footnote 7).

Similar species

Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora)

  • Similar D-shape, size and pads near hilum as bladder campion.
  • Bladder campion seed tends to be greyish in colour, has two large pads near the hilum, tubercles in rows, and is angular. Night-flowering catchfly seed may have a yellowish bloom, or is reddish in colour. The hilum is bordered by two small pads, tubercles randomly arranged and the seed is rounded.

White cockle (Silene latifolia subsp. alba)

  • Similar D-shape and size as bladder campion.
  • Bladder campion seed is usually greyish. The hilum is bordered by two large pads, with surface tubercles in rows and is angular. White cockle seed is usually covered in a whitish bloom, has an 'open mouth' hilum, with an inflated shape and random tubercle arrangement.

Photos

Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seeds
Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seed, hilum view
Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seed
Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seed, profile
Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seed, hilum (close-up view)

Similar species

Similar species: Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seeds
Similar species: Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seed, hilum (close-up view)
Similar species: White cockle (Silene latifolia subsp. alba) seeds
Similar species: White cockle (Silene latifolia subsp. alba) seed, hilum view
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