Herb: Moss Campion

Latin name: Silene acaulis

Family: Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family, Starwort Family)

Medicinal use of Moss Campion:

The plant has been used in the treatment of children with colic.

Description of the plant:


5 cm
(2 inches)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Mountain ledges and scree in N. Wales, the Lake District and Scotland.

Edible parts of Moss Campion:

Plant - cooked. Consumed as a vegetable in Iceland and in Arctic and Alpine regions. The raw root skins have been used for food. This report refers to the sub-species S. acaulis exscapa. (All.)DC.

Other uses of the herb:

Plants form a rooting carpet and can be grown as a ground cover when planted about 25cm apart each way.

Propagation of Moss Campion:

Seed - sow early spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Mountain ledges and scree in N. Wales, the Lake District and Scotland.

Known hazards of Silene acaulis:

Although no mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it does contain saponins. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.