Bell Catchfly (Silene campanulata)
We recently photographed this uncommon catchfly, and then realized we had also seen it on a previous trip visiting, Oregon’s southern Cascades. Although common in this limited area, we more often see Parry’s Catchfly, elsewhere in the northwest. After flowering, the enlarged “bell” or calyx where the petals originate remains, an empty dried paper-thin shell. We saw both in our later July encounter.
This weedy plant is part of the pink family, named not for the color, but for the ‘pinked’ petals (such as when using pinking shears), in this case feathered but often simply notched or scalloped. The latin genus, silene, meaning saliva or foam, refers to how the leaves and stems in Catchflys extrude a sticky substance.