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Fire Pink Silene virginica var. virginica

Other plants called Fire Pink:

Phonetic Spelling
sy-LEE-nee vir-JIN-ih-kuh vir-JIN-ih-kuh
Description

Fire Pink is a variety of native perennial wildflower that is found in the Smoky Mountains of the United States. It is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family that includes carnations and pinks. This particular plant has bright red flowers but is reportedly smaller than other varieties.

Fire Pink has been found growing wild in the States of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina. A distribution map shows that this wildflower is found typically in the western parts of North Carolina and appears rarely in the Coastal Plains. It is typically found in woodlands, rocky areas, crevices of cliffs, and along roadsides. 

The genus name, Silene, is derived from "catchfly" or "campion." The plants in this genus have tiny sticky hairs that discourage ants and other insects from eating the plant. The species name, virginica, means "of Virginia."

The plant thrives in partial sun with dry to medium moist well-drained soils of sand or gravel. The plant will tolerate full sun but prefers some afternoon shade.  Although it is considered to be a short-lived perennial, it will self-seed.  Its deep taproot makes it difficult to transplant. Hummingbirds and butterflies are attracted to their flowers.

The stems of the Fire Pink are mostly erect, sticky, and densely hairy. There are medium to dark green basal and stem leaves that also have sticky hairs. The basal leaves are slightly spatula-shaped while the stem leaves are narrower and occur opposite in pairs of 2 to 4 per stem. The bloom has five-lobed calyx and five bright red spreading petals with deeply notched tips. Each flower is followed by a seed capsule during the spring and summer. 

Fire Pink is best grown in naturalized areas and woodlands so that it may freely reseed itself. 

Seasons of Interest:

Bloom:  Spring and Summer     Foliage:  Spring, Summer, and Fall       Fruit:  Spring and Summer

Quick ID Hints:

  • green, mostly erect, hairy, sticky stems
  • basal leaves of medium to dark green that appear oblanceolate to spatulate with sticky hairs
  • opposite stem leaves with sticky hairs, occur in 2 to 4 pairs, and do not have a petiole
  • flowers are 2 inches in diameter with fire brilliant red spreading petals with deeply notched tips
  • flowers are replaced by a seed capsule

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Fire Pink is generally pest and disease-free.

More information on Silene virginica.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#red flowers#native perennials#cottage garden#NC native#native garden#rock garden#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#food source summer#summmer flowers#food source nectar#food source pollen#rocky soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#Audubon#shallow soil tolerant#crevice garden#woodland
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#showy flowers#drought tolerant#red flowers#native perennials#cottage garden#NC native#native garden#rock garden#pollinator plant#native wildflower#wildflower garden#naturalized area#food source summer#summmer flowers#food source nectar#food source pollen#rocky soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#dry soils tolerant#Audubon#shallow soil tolerant#crevice garden#woodland
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Silene
    Species:
    virginica
    Family:
    Caryophyllaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern North America
    Distribution:
    Native: GA, NC, and SC
    Wildlife Value:
    The flowers provide nectar for the hummingbirds.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Dimensions:
    Height: 12 ft. 0 in. - 18 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 0 ft. 9 in. - 1 ft. 6 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herb
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4b, 4a, 5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Each flower is followed by a seed capsule that is displayed from May to August.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Cyme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Tubular
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    The flower is brilliant red and measures 2-inches in diameter. It has a five lobed calyx and five spreading, narrow, deeply notched petals. There are 10 stamens. The flowers bloom from April to July.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblanceolate
    Spatulate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are medium to dark green with basal and stem leaves with sticky hairs. The basal leaves are oblanceolate or spatulate in shape. The stem leaves are narrow, appear opposite, and occur in 2 to 4 pairs. The stem leaves lack a petiole.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are covered with dense sticky hairs.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Rock Wall
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Cottage Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Pollinators
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds