Bladder Campion / Carletti (Silene vulgaris syn. S. inflata)

Bladder Campion / Carletti (Silene vulgaris syn. S. inflata)

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Description

Bladder campion is a native, perennial wildflower, with glaucous, blue-green leaves (sometimes flushed purple), and airy white (or occasionally light pink) flowers with a distinctive, beautifully reticulated, inflated calyx, borne on tall, slender, arching stems.


In 1783, the English botanist Charles Bryant wrote that, ‘Our kitchen-gardens scarcely furnish a better flavoured sallad than the young, tender shoots of this plant, when boiled’. Sadly we seem to have forgotten this, but over on the continent it is well known, being one the most commonly foraged plants in southern Europe, and across trans-continental Turkey.

The parts most commonly used are the young leaves and shoot tips. The youngest leaves, which are eaten raw, are sweet and taste bit like green peas, with hardly any bitterness. The older ones, which we prefer lightly cooked, lose their sweetness and develop a slight, but pleasant bitterness.

Bladder Campions grow in a wide range of habitats and conditions, and can tolerate both light shade and relatively poor soil. However, they prefer good drainage and a spot with full sun.

For more information and a few recipes, see our profile of this excellent edible, which you can find on the blog (here)


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