A long-lived Arctic plant (4) (5) (6) (7), the moss campion (Silene acaulis) is a herbaceous perennial which grows in dense, cushion-like mats (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7). It has numerous, solitary pink flowers, which have a yellow band at the base of the petals, and which are raised slightly above the rest of the plant. The flowers may very occasionally be white (2) (5) and the small stalks which support the flowers, known as ‘pedicels’, are 0.2 to 4 centimetres long (3).
The moss campion is an evergreen plant (4) (8), and is highly branched, with dense, overlapping, lance-shaped leaves that are often slightly hairy and are located around the woody base of the stem. The seeds are light brown and kidney-shaped and are enclosed within a cylindrical capsule (3).
Some scientists recognise a number of subspecies of moss campion, which vary in range, habitat, and leaf and flower shape and size (3) (9).
- Height: c. 2.5 cm (2)
- Flower width: c. 0.6 cm (2)