Red campion: the walkers companion

If you walk the lanes and bridle ways of Dorset it is pretty certain that the red campion (Silene dioica) will be a familiar sight, it is a flower that will often be your companion as it can grow in profusion along our hedgerows. It is one of those flowers that seem to be with us all year but it actually flowers from March through to October but it is in late May through until late July that it is at its best. In mild winters it can actually be found all year in Dorset but
that is not the norm
You can also find red campion growing along woodland rides and often it occurs with bluebells and greater stitchwort to give a striking patriotic display of red, white and blue! It likes plenty of light and can also be found on sea cliffs and river banks. Sadly it often suffers because of our apparent in built need to keep our roadsides and 'waste' places neat and tidy. 
Some people believe that the flower varies in colour from red through pink to white but white campion is a completely different species. However, where the two grow in close proximity they do hybridise giving an array of paler coloured flowers and occasionally one can get a pure white red campion!
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