Sea Campion (Silene maritima)

The Sea Campion is now coming in to flower along the Dorset coast, from sea cliffs to shingle beaches. It does not seem to mind too much as long as it is near the sea. They often form large carpets and are quite spectacular when in full flow.

At first sight Sea Campion appears to have black 'marks' on the petals but when you get close up you can see that these are, in fact black stamens, a bit unusual as stamens are usually yellow or orange.

The black 'marks' are the obvious way to tell this species apart from White Campion or Bladder Campion. The inflated area behind the flowers on Sea Campion can sometimes be misleading and lead you to think that it is Bladder Campion. Obviously, the habitat of being by the sea is another clear indicator. Bladder Campion is a flower of the hedgerow and chalk grasslands.

Sea Campion is just one of the many reasons to head to the Purbeck and Portlands cliffs at this time of year!

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