Pennsylvania catchfly (Silene caroliniana ssp. pensylvanica)
Pennsylvania wild pink
Silene caroliniana Walter var. pensylvanica (Michx.) Fernald
Silene pensylvanica Michx.
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of Pennsylvania
catchfly is Silene caroliniana Walter ssp. pensylvanica (Michx.) R.T.
NATIVE STATUS: Native, United States.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: Pennsylvania catchfly is an erect, herbaceous perennial that often
can be found in tufts or clumps. Stem height is usually 9 to 12 inches high
with a width of 9 to 12 inches.
Leaves: Basal leaves blade narrowly oblanceolate to lance-shaped, up to 4 inches long, usually 0.5-1.5 cm broad with an apex acute. There are smaller paired stem leaves, linear to oblong, to 5 cm. long and 5 mm. broad, acute
at tip. Leaves hairless or nearly so on both surfaces (margins and veins pub-
escent underside of leaves). The leaf petiole is very narrowly winged.
Flowers: Loose clusters of rose-pink flowers with five spreading wedge-shaped petals, about 1 inch across, appear in mid to late spring atop sticky
flowering stems. The calyces, 15-18(-20) mm long, are glandular and pub-
Fruit/Seeds: Capsules about 8 ( sometimes up to 10) mm. long.
Roots: It grows from a taproot, 8-20 cm. long.
REGENERATION PROCESS: Pennsylvania catchfly propogates itself by
HABITAT TYPES: Pennsylvania catchfly is usually found in dry, rocky,
mainly deciduous woods; it can also be found in gravelly, rocky or shaley
banks and clearings. It does best in situations where there is a minimum of
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: Pennsylvania catchfly prefers average, dry
to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. It tolerates
dry soil, including shallow, gravelly to rocky soil, as well as dry sandy soils.
It does best with afternoon shade and requires locations with excellent
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: The blooming period occurs from mid-
spring to late spirng, sometimes into early summer (April to May,
occassionally into early June).
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: Pennsylvania catchfly primarily occurs in
the eastern part of the United States, from the mid-Atlantic states north
to southern New England and west to the Mississippi River and Ohio River.
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Pennsylvania catchfly hosts the larval
development of the European alfalfa beetle (Subcoccinella
vigintiquatuorpunctata), an accidental introduction into North
America in the early 1970s, and recorded in Virginia in the early 1990s.
Pennsylvania catchfly is used as a garden ornamental.
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Sky Meadows Park
Crooked Run Valley