Virginia Tech Weed Identification Guide

Bladder Campion: Silene vulgaris

bcampion12-20b.jpg (89039 bytes) Weed Description: An erect or low-growing perennial from rhizomes with 'bladder-like' flowers. Bladder campion is primarily a weed of pastures and hay fields, but may also occur along roadsides or in other forage crops. This weed occurs throughout most of the United States.
Seedlings:  Cotyledons are
3 to 12 mm long, 1 to 2 1/2 mm wide, elliptical in outline, without hairs, and yellowish green in color.
bcampion11-27.jpg (142155 bytes)
bcampion6-28c.jpg (169035 bytes) Leaves:  Initially develop as somewhat of a basal rosette.  Leaves are ovate to lance-shaped, and are easily confused as the leaves of a grass when this occurs as a weed in grass forages.   Leaves are approximately 1 1/4 to 3 inches long and are without hairs.
Stems:  Erect, branching, reaching 3 1/3 feet in height.  Stems are without hairs.

Roots:  Rhizomes and a fibrous root system.

bcampion4-8.jpg (199711 bytes)
bcampion6-28.jpg (106713 bytes) Fruit:  A round capsule within the 'bladder.'  Each fruit is approximately 1/2 inch long.
Flowers:  Occur in clusters of 5 to 30 white flowers that are each approximately 20 mm in width.  Individual flowers consist of 5 white petals that are deeply lobed or split and resemble a "V".   The flowers also have bladder-like cases which are actually fused inflated sepals with 20 distinct pink to white veins. bcampion6-7.jpg (59922 bytes)
bladderc8-6b.jpg (62089 bytes) Identifying Characteristics:   The hairless, opposite leaves and lobed, bladder-like flowers are all characteristics that help in the identification of bladder campion.  White Campion (Silene alba) is very similar in appearance and growth habit, but has hairs on the leaves and stems unlike bladder campion.