Species of the Month: August 2016

 

Bladder Campion Silene vulgaris

Photo

Seedpods of Bladder Campion with larva of Coleophora nutantella © David Slade

 

Bladder Campion is a common UK wildflower found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, hedgerows and roadside verges. The plant is named for the large bladder shaped swelling at the base of the white flowers, making this species easy to identify in the field. The species flowers from May to September, and retains the bladder swelling as a seed pod, so should be easy to spot during and after flowering. Despite this being considered a common species, we hold just 148 records in the SEWBReC database (view the Welsh distribution here).

We are particularly interested in the distribution of this species as it acts as a host plant for the rare moth Coleophora nutantella, which is only known from a single Welsh site (view the Welsh distribution here). The seedpods of Bladder Campion are used as a foodsource by the larvae of C. nutantella, which form a silken tube on the pods and then feed on the seeds within.

More information about Bladder Campion (including photos of the flowers) can be found on NatureSpot, and about Coleophora nutanella from UKMoths.

If you spot Bladder Campion or Coleophora nutantella during August (or at any other time of year), please send us the record, ideally via our Species of the Month forms on SEWBReCORD: Silene vulgaris or Coleophora nutantella (nb. you will need to be signed into SEWBReCORD to use these links). Instructions on how to submit records are available here