Melandrium album (Mill.) Garcke - White campion


Family Caryophyllaceae Juss., genus Melandrium Roehl.


Lychnis alba Mill., Lychnis pratensis Rafn., Melandrium pratense (Rafn.) Roehl., Melandrium dioicum (L.) Coss. et Germ. subsp. album (Mill.) D. Love, Silene alba (Mill.) E. Krause, Silene latifolia Poir. subsp. alba (Mill.) Greuter & Burdet, Silene pratense (Rafn.) Godr.
White cockle.

Biological group.

Biennial, seed-propagated plant.

Morphology and biology.

Softly-haired weed with deep, fleshy root, sometimes with root buds. Stem is erect, hairy, usually ramified from the base up, 30-100 cm high. Cotyledons are ovate acuminate, gradually tapering into the petiole. Foliage leaves are in opposite pairs, lower leaves inverse ovate and petiolate, upper leaves lanceolate and sessile, haired at the margin and on the veins. Flowers are unisexual, dioecious, in paniculiform inflorescences, white, fragrant, loosely arranged. Calyx is 15-20 mm long, with 10-20 ribs, does not open until afternoon. Boll opens with 10 teeth. Seeds are small, 1-1.5 mm long, dark-brown. Shoots emerge in spring, shallow germination. Flowering period - June - August. The mass of 1000 seeds is 0.5-0.7 g. Seeds per plant : about 6000. Can propagate with root layers as well.


Nearly all western Europe, Mongolia, Northern America, Greenland. Nearly all the European part of the former USSR, except Arctic regions, Central Asia, Kasakhstan, Caucasus, Siberia, the Far East.


Grows primarily on nitrogen-rich, friable soils with adequate moisture, except saline soils.

Economic value.

Infests grain and tilled crops, perennial fodder grasses, occurs in kitchen gardens, orchards, waste lands, fallow lands, lengthways roads, near habitation. Control measures: stubbling, deep plowing, interrow cultivation, chemical weeding.

Related references:

Nikitin V.V. 1983. Weed plants in the flora of the USSR. Leningrad: Nauka, p.p. 179-180.
Shishkin B.K. 1936. Flora of the USSR. V. VI. Moscow-Leningrad: Ac. Sc. USSR, p. 725.
Veselovskiy I.V., Lysenko A. K., Man'ko Yu. P. 1988. The atlas identification book on weeds. Kiev: Urozhay, p. 34.
Weeds in sugar beet. 1996. Berlin, Hoehst Schering AgrEvo GmbH, p. 374.

©T. D. Sokolova


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