Back in the Gorge

Volunteer commitments and other activities have kept me away from my beloved Potomac gorge for an unprecedented two weeks, but I finally got a chance to go for a quick look around Carderock on Tuesday. I was hoping to find (among other things), starry campion, since I mentioned it in a post about pinks in Iceland a few weeks ago.

I knew exactly where to look, and sure enough, there it was.

20160802-_DSC0026

Starry campion (Silene stellata, Caryophyllaceae), also known as starry catchfly, whorled catchfly, and widowsfrill, is one of four species of Silene found in the area. (Another is S. caroliniana.) It likes part shade in dry soils, and can be found from the east coast west into the Great Plains. It’s threatened in Michigan, special concern in Connecticut, and historical in Rhode Island.

This species is a perennial, standing about two feet tall,  and consists of a single stem (usually) with leaves in whorls of four (picture here) and a few terminal flowers.

The flowers are white, sometimes with a very faint bluish or purplish tinge.

20160802-_DSC0028

The petals are really neat, aren’t they? Each flower has five petals that are so deeply dissected that from a distance they appear to be many more. If the plants receive too much sunlight, the flowers will close, then reopen in the evening and stay open until bright sunlight the next day.

 

I found a few other species blooming Tuesday. More about those in the next few days.

2 thoughts on “Back in the Gorge

  1. Astounding. I have never seen the likes of anything like this. Looks like I need to re-center my range of vision from the next apex to include the beauty surrounding me — but perhaps not while driving.

    I’ve said it before, but “Great work!” Carl

    Carl Iseli SdF Coaching 301.384.4926 (H) 202.812.3900 (M)

    >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s