Fire Pink — Silene virginica

Fire pink is a beautiful perennial that is common throughout the state and easily found. It likes rich dry soil and is seen on rocky slopes, in open woodlands and meadows, where it can get morning sun. The five brilliantly red leaves are notched and have a row of false petals at a 90 degree vertical angle to them around the stamens and pistil of the flower, shown in picture. Because these flowers have a short life cycle, up to three years, they are not seen in large groups very often, but are common.

This flower is in the carnation family. The stems, upper leaves and sepals have sticky hairs that acts as a flypaper. Thus the common name “Catch Fly”.The bright red blossoms and sweet nectar attract the ruby-throated hummingbirds, making them an important pollinator of this flower.

Native Americans thought this plant to be poisonous but it was used by our ancestors as a treatment for worms.

Even though we can enjoy this flower from April through August because it stands out from its background and the other plants, in Florida and Wisconsin it is endangered and in Michigan it is threatened.

Go out and find them. If you can’t find them at Levi Jackson Park go to Cumberland Falls Part I photographed the there derby day. Have fun looking for them.

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