Royal Catchfly / Center For Plant Conservation
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Plant Profile

Royal Catchfly (Silene regia)

Closeup of the red, 5-petaled pinwheel flowers of this species. Photo Credit:
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Caryophyllaceae
  • State: AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, MS, OH, OK, TN, WI
  • Nature Serve ID: 128777
  • Lifeform: Forb/herb
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

This species is one of the Midwest's most beautiful and conspicuous prairie wildflowers, presenting brilliant red flowers during much of the summer. This showy perennial produces 5-petaled crimson-red flowers that are approximately 2 inches in diameter, during the months of June-September. These flowers have a sticky calyx that can catch insects, which is how it got the common name of Royal catchfly. Many flowers are produced at once, but not all yield fruit and seed. Fruit that is produced has 20-40 seeds, which have been shown to have a high germination rate. This plant can grow from 24-48 inches in height. It has a long, slender, reclining stem, and 10-20 pairs of downy, lancelike leaves. There are also sticky hairs on the stem of this taxon. The leaves are slightly pointed at their tips. The Royal catchfly is usually multi-stemmed and produces more seedlings when its habitat is burned because seeds need little to no litter layer in order to germinate.

Where is Royal Catchfly (Silene regia) located in the wild?


Found in open woods, glades, meadows, and calcareous prairies. Found mostly in the sun, in rich, well drained soil. Also likes prairie remnants, cemeteries, by railroads, and powerline right of ways. Found by roadsides and in dry rocky areas in general. Found in soil in open woods, and wood margins. Likes well drained, calcareous, and cherty soils. Can also be found on limestone barrens, and remnant prairies. Likes mesic, dry mesic, and wet mesic prairies. Also is found on dry savannahs and dry woods. Especially found on calcareous or chert substrates.


Found historically in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Florida.

States & Provinces:

Royal Catchfly can be found in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Wisconsin

Which CPC Partners conserve Royal Catchfly (Silene regia)?

CPC's Plant Sponsorship Program provides long term stewardship of rare plants in our National Collection. We are so grateful for all our donors who have made the Plant Sponsorship Program so successful. We are in the process of acknowledging all our wonderful plant sponsorship donors on our website. This is a work in progress and will be updated regularly.

Conservation Actions

Tina Stanley
  • 03/14/2023
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Missouri Botanical Garden holds accessions of ​​​​​​​​Silene regia in orthodox seed banking.

Center for Plant Conservation
  • 11/25/2021
  • Reintroduction

Indexed material was propagated by the State Botanical Garden of Georgia from the last known population of Silene regia in the state of Georgia. Plants were reintroduced back to their source population to bolster or augment the population which was down to 13 individuals. SBG planted 72 individuals in 2004. In 2008, 30 individuals were planted in a safeguarding site at a State Park within the original range of the species.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Midwestern endemic of tallgrass prairie habitats, now with relatively few, scattered populations coupled with continued destruction of habitat. Apparently most abundant in Missouri; extirpated from Kansas and Tennessee, and considered quite rare in all other states in range. Many remaining population remnants are along roadsides where vulnerable to construction or to changes in management of roadside vegetation.

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Overgrowth by woody species Casual picking of the flowers Digging by wildflower gardeners Spreading of non-native Smooth Brome (Bromus inermis) Fire suppression Conversion of its habitat to farmland Massive habitat destruction

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Unknown, but this species appears to do well in restorations.


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Taxon Silene regia
Authority Sims
Family Caryophyllaceae
CPC Number 4005
ITIS 20109
Duration Perennial
Common Names royal catchfly
Associated Scientific Names Silene regia | Melandrium illinoense | Melandrium regium
Distribution Found historically in Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Arkansas, and Florida.
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama S2?
Arkansas S2
Georgia S1
Illinois S1
Indiana S2
Kentucky S1
Missouri S3
Mississippi S1
Ohio S2
Oklahoma S1
Tennessee SH
Wisconsin SNA
Ecological Relationships

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Hummingbirds Archilochus colubris Confirmed Pollinator Link
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting
Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance Georgia Reinforcement 2004

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