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Silene stellata (Widow's frill)
Smith, R.W.

Silene stellata

Silene stellata (L.) W.T. Aiton

Widow's Frill, Starry Campion

Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)

Synonym(s): Silene stellata var. scabrella


USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

An erect, loosely branching, perennial with lance-shaped leaves in whorls of four and terminal clusters of white, tubular flowers with flaring, deeply fringed petals. The sticky-stemmed plants average 2-3 ft. high. Deeply fringed, 5-petaled white flowers clustered atop tall slender stalks, with leaves mostly in whorls of 4.

This delicate wildflower is pollinated by butterflies and many kinds of moths. It is often grown in wildflower gardens.


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 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Native Distribution: RI to MN, s. to GA, AR, OK & e. TX
Native Habitat: Dry, upland woods; wooded slopes

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Rich soils.


Description: Propagate by seed or cuttings. Seeds can be sown outdoors immediately after collection or stored, pretreated and sown later. Divide mature plants in late fall or early spring by removing outer rosettes.
Seed Collection: This plant declines quickly after flowering so it is best to flag the plant. Seeds mature 2-3 weeks after the bloom period. Vigorous plants may have flowers and dehisced capsules at the same time. Mature capsules should be swollen, pale green or tan, and split readily when pinched. Refrigerate in sealed containers.
Seed Treatment: 3-4 weeks of cold-moist stratification.

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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