Weed Seed: Silene noctiflora (Night-flowering catchfly)

Family

Caryophyllaceae

Common Name

Night-flowering catchfly

Regulation

Secondary Noxious, Class 3 in the Canadian Weed Seeds Order, 2016 under the Seeds Act.

Distribution

Canadian: Occurs in AB, BC, MB, NB, NL, NS, ON, PE, QC, SK and YT (Brouillet et al. 2016Footnote 1).

Worldwide: Native to parts of Europe and temperate Asia (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2). Naturalized in other parts of Europe, New Zealand, and North America (USDA-ARS 2016Footnote 2). In United States, it is widespread but more common in northern states (USDA-NRCS 2016Footnote 3).

Duration of Life Cycle

Annual

Seed or Fruit Type

Seed

Identification Features

Size

  • Seed length: 0.9 - 1.5 mm
  • Seed width: 0.8 - 1.3 mm

Shape

  • Seed D-shaped, compressed, with the hilum in the middle of the flat edge

Surface Texture

  • Seed densely covered with randomly arranged tubercles

Colour

  • Seeds tend to be covered with a pale yellow bloom; dark red if immature or the bloom is removed

Other Features

  • Hilum is flanked by 2 small pads with blocky cells on their surface

Habitat and Crop Association

Cultivated fields (especially leguminous crops), pastures, gardens, hayfields, old fields, railways roadsides and disturbed areas (McNeill 1980Footnote 4, Frankton and Mulligan 1993Footnote 5, Darbyshire 2003Footnote 6).

General Information

Night-flowering catchfly plants can produce up to 2500 seeds per plant. Not fully matured seed can germinate similarly to mature seed shed from the capsule (McNeill 1980Footnote 4). The small seed size makes it difficult to clean out of clovers such as Alsike clover. Contaminated seed is the main method of spread for this species (McNeill 1980Footnote 4).

Similar Species

White cockle (Silene latifolia subsp. alba)

  • It is similar to night-flowering catchfly in size and D-shape.
  • White cockle seed is usually covered in a whitish bloom, has an 'open mouth' hilum, with an inflated shape. Night-flowering catchfly seed may have a yellowish bloom, or is reddish in colour. The hilum is bordered by two small pads and the seed does not appear inflated.

Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris)

  • Similar D-shape, size and pads near hilum as night-flowering catchfly.
  • Bladder campion seed tends to be greyish in colour, has two large pads near the hilum, tubercles arranged in rows and is angular. Night-flowering catchfly seed may have a yellowish bloom, or is reddish in colour. The hilum is bordered by two small pads, tubercles randomly arranged and the seed is rounded.

Photos

Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seeds
Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seed
Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seed, side view
Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seed, hilum view
Night-flowering catchfly (Silene noctiflora) seed, hilum (close-up view)

Similar species

Similar species: White cockle (Silene latifolia) seeds
Similar species: White cockle (Silene latifolia) seed, hilum view
Similar species: Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seeds
Similar species: Bladder campion (Silene vulgaris) seed, hilum view
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