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A recognisable flower of the hedgerows, the flowers of Red Campion (Silene dioica) were said to resemble buttons.
The Latin name Silene comes from the drunken Greek god Silenus, although the plant was considered anything but merry in folklore.
Red Campion had a dubious reputation in some parts of Britain, where people believed picking the flower would bring bad luck.
Children believed they would be killed by lightning if they picked the flowers.
In Wales, the plant was known as snakebite and picking it was thought to lead to getting bitten by snakes or causing snakes to come into the house.
Red Campion, like bluebells, had associations with fairies or goblins and their mischief
The varied species of campion display small red, pink, and white flowers with various attractive leaves and stems.
Red Campion has small button-like pink flowers with short round green leaves and long erect stems.
Habitat and Distribution
Red Campion is found in hedgerows and roadsides in Britain, Europe and Asia.
Parts Used for Food
Leaves, flowers, shoots.
Food Uses of Red Campion
Red Campion leaves are an ingredient of pistic, a traditional spring dish eaten in northern Italy.
Red Campion wine was made in 20th-century Britain by boiling oranges, lemons, red campion flowers and leaves with barley and sugar.
The young shoots can be blanched to reduce their bitterness and made into a puree similar to spinach.
You can add the leaves of the plant to various dishes, including salads, soups, stews, sauces, herbal cheeses and even as a substitute for asparagus.
Herbal Medicine Uses of Red Campion
Campions (of any species) were used to treat internal bleeding, kidney disease, sores and ulcers, and stings.
Healers also used it to treat warts and corns.
In Spain and Italy, the plant was used for digestive disorders.
There is little information about the side effects of using Silene species during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
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