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Silene acaulis (Moss campion)
Beckers, Eric

Silene acaulis

Silene acaulis (L.) Jacq.

Moss Campion, Cushion Pink

Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

This popular rock garden plant makes tight, moss-like cushions of almost spiny, glossy leaves which seem to flow over the rocks. Long, woody taproots anchor the perennial deeply in rock crevices. In flower, pink to purple, five-petaled blossoms dot the bright-green mat in profusion. Flowers occur at the ends of leafy branches.

This beautiful little mountain-dwelling wildflower forms extensive moss-like carpets in the western mountains but appears only locally in the East, where Mt. Washington in New Hampshire is its southern limit.


From the Image Gallery

14 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 6 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Petals bright pink to lavender, rarely white.


USA: AK , AZ , CO , ID , ME , MT , NH , NM , NV , OR , UT , WA , WY
Canada: NS
Native Distribution: Circumpolar (var. exscapa), s. in N. America to OR, ID, n. MT & NH; extending s. in the Rockies to NM & AZ as var. subacaulescens
Native Habitat: Moist, chalky rock crevices in high mts.

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Description: Rich, scree soil.
Conditions Comments: This is a trouble-free, rock garden plant.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Can be propagated from stem cuttings. Plants come easily from seed, and should be transplanted to the rockery when the rosettes get 1-2 in. across.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Silene acaulis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Silene acaulis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Silene acaulis


Record Modified: 2023-02-27
Research By: TWC Staff

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