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Silene regia (Royal Catchfly)

Silene regia (Royal Catchfly)
silene-regia-royal-catchfly-with-early-sunflower silene-regia-royal-catchfly-plant-height-caption Silene-regia-Royal-Catchfly-leaf Silene_regia_Royal_Catchfly_root Silene_regia_Royal_Catchfly_seed potted royal catchfly

Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) is a bit awkward when not flowering, but do not let that fool you. Hummingbirds and swallowtail butterflies flock to this species and a stand of Royal Catchfly can turn the eye from a great distance away. When Silene regia is a mature plant it grows up to 4' in height in very well-drained soil, but can grow in sandy soil and gravel as well.

The name catchfly comes from the fact that insects are often stuck all over the stems. A close look will reveal why. Sticky glands cover the plant and small insects alighting upon it often become fatally trapped. There has been much speculation over this. Some even believe it to be a primitive form of carnivorous behavior. In fact, the order to which this species belongs also contains true carnivorous plants like sundews and venus fly traps. However, despite containing digestive enzymes, Royal Catchfly does not obtain any nutrients from its victims. Why bother producing these glands then? Some hypothesize that the sticky hairs are there to keep hungry insects from feeding on the plant. After becoming stuck, the insects inevitably die. This presents another challenge for the plant. It isn't healthy to have rotting insects stuck all over it. This is where the digestive enzymes come in. They quickly breakdown the insect bodies, keeping them from becoming putrid.

Royal Catchfly is rare due to loss of prairie habitat and is endangered in some states but is relatively easy to grow. The bloom period is June-August for this excellent garden plant. Good companion plants are Tall Larkspur (Delphinium exaltatum), Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium), and Little Bluestem (Andropogon scoparius).

Dormant bare root plants ship each year during optimal transplanting season: Fall (October) or Spring (April/May).


Potted plants come in a tray of 38 plants and ship mid-May through late-June. Click here if you prefer to mix/match up to 6 species in a tray.


Details
Catalog Number SIL04F
Seeds / Packet 100
Seeds / Ounce 23,000
Germination Code C(60)
USDA Zones 4-9
Plant Spacing 1-2'
Sun Exposure Full Sun  Part Shade 
Soil Moisture Mesic (Medium)  Dry-Mesic 
Height 4 feet 
Bloom Color Red 
Bloom Time July  Aug 
Plant Type Wildflowers (Forbs) 
Availability Seeds  Roots  Potted Trays 
AVAILABLE PRODUCTS
Seeds

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Packet $2.50
1/8 oz. $11.25
Bare Root Plants

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# of Plants:

1 - 2 $7.00
Potted Plants

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Tray of 38 $99.00
 
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silene-regia-royal-catchfly-with-early-sunflower
silene-regia-royal-catchfly-plant-height-caption
Silene-regia-Royal-Catchfly-leaf
Silene_regia_Royal_Catchfly_root
Silene_regia_Royal_Catchfly_seed
potted royal catchfly
Silene regia (Royal Catchfly)
*This map shows the native and adventive range of this species. **Given appropriate habitat and climate, native plants can be grown outside their range.
BONAP Map Key
Present in state Present in county; native to state Not present in state  
Present in county, adventive in state    
Parthenium integrifolium (Wild Quinine) Delphinium exaltatum (Tall Larkspur) Schizachyrium scoparium (Little Bluestem)
 
Silene virginica (Fire Pink)
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North American Native Plants for Restoration and Gardening