A genus of nearly 900 flowering species scattered throughout the northern hemisphere. The genus has interested scientists for over a century as a model for understanding genetics and sex determination. They commonly contain a mixture of hermaphroditic and male-sterile individuals, and early studies showed that male sterility could be maternally inherited. Some members of the genus have the largest mitochondrial genomes ever identified.
The genus Lychnis is closely related to and sometimes considered separate from Silene, differing in the flowers having five styles (three in Silene), the seed capsule having five teeth (six in Silene), and in the sticky stems of Lychnis. There are about 20 species of Lychnis.
The name Lychnis derives from the Greek word lychnos, which means lamp. The name comes about because the leaves were used to make wicks.
Common names include campion and catchfly, the latter name based on the sticky stems.
Name Derivation: From Saliva, meaning stickiness; or Silenus the foster father of Bacchus, who was depicted covered in a foam substance
Common Name: campion and catchfly
Silene is in the family Caryophyllaceae.