sleepy catchfly

(Silene antirrhina)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Sleepy catchfly is a 8 to 32 tall, erect, annual forb that rises from a slender, branching taproot. It is easy to miss when not in bloom. This is a highly variable species. At one time it was divided into several varieties according to the presence or absence of petals, color of petals, and presence of sticky bands. These characteristics overlap significantly, and the varieties are no longer valid.

The stems are green, erect, slender, and unbranched except near the inflorescence. The lower part of the stem is covered with fine, short, soft hairs. The upper part is hairless but has dark, sticky bands between the upper nodes.

Basal leaves are inverse lance-shaped to spatula-shaped, with the attachment at the narrow end. Stem leaves are in opposite pairs. They are narrowly inversely lance-shaped, with the attachment at the narrow end, to linear, to 3½ long, and from less than to wide. The bases do not wrap partially around (clasp) the stem. They are attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. They are either rough to the touch or minutely hairy, rarely hairless and smooth. The margins are untoothed and have a fringe of hairs near the base.

The inflorescence is as loose cluster of flowers at the end of the stem.

Individual flowers are about ¼ across and on straight, upright stalks. The sepals are fused at the base into a tube (calyx) terminating in short, usually purple lobes. The calyx is green, hairless, and smooth. It is egg-shaped, to long, and about to ¼ wide. It has 10 veins that are raised on the surface (prominent), forming ridges.

Some varieties have flowers with no petals or with petals that do not protrude from the calyx. When petals are present, they are white, sometimes suffused with red, with 2 lobes. They are horizontally spreading, with a stalk-like narrow base (claw) about equaling the calyx in length. They open during daytime. The 10 stamens do not protrude from the calyx. The 3 styles do not protrude from the calyx. The flowers are not fragrant.

The fruit is a hairless, egg-shaped, 3-chambered capsule the same size as the calyx. It has with 6 teeth at the top.




8 to 32


Flower Color


White, often reddish


Similar Species


Dry. Open woods, fields, roadsides, disturbed areas. Often appears after a burning. Full sun.




June to September


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Subclass Caryophyllidae  
  Superorder Caryophyllanae  


Caryophyllales (pinks, cactuses, and allies)  


Caryophyllaceae (pink)  
  Subfamily Caryophylloideae  
  Tribe Sileneae  


Silene (catchflies)  
  Subgenus Silene  
  Section Sclerophyllae  

Subordinate Taxa


Several varieties and forms have been described based on flower color and plant stature, but these are not widely accepted. Flora of North America considers the differences due to moisture, exposure, and nutrients.




Silene antirrhina f. albiflora

Silene antirrhina f. roseiflora

Silene antirrhina var. confinis

Silene antirrhina var. depauperata

Silene antirrhina var. divaricata

Silene antirrhina var. laevigata

Silene antirrhina var. pteroneura

Silene antirrhina var. subglaber

Silene antirrhina var. vaccarifolia

Silene pteroneura


Common Names



sleepy campion

sleepy catchfly

sleepy silene










The flower cup. May be the group of outer floral leaves (sepals) collectively, or a tube with lobes.



Describing a leaf that wholly or partly surrounds the stem but does not fuse at the base.



A stalk-like narrowed base of some petals and sepals.



The small swelling of the stem from which one or more leaves, branches, or buds originate.

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