Fire Pink

Silene virginica is Fire Pink

Hot stuff! Five long, radiant, red petals adorn this flower. Each petal has a cute little notch at the end. The petals lead down to a long tube that holds the pistil and stamens. Given the tube-like shape of the flower, fire pink requires a pollinator with a long tongue or proboscis. Any ideas? You’re right–newly returning hummingbirds will do the job!

Fire Pink leaves and stem are covered with sticky haris
Fire Pink leaves and stem are covered with sticky haris

Fire pink flowers are borne at the top of the 10-12 inch plant. The leaves are long and narrow (lance shaped) and covered with sticky hairs. The plants grow in open woods and on rocky slopes, as well as along roadsides. I took some of these photos at the top of Brush Mountain in Montgomery County, VA– a place with thin, dry soils and lots of rocks. Even under these conditions, fire pinks were growing everywhere!

Look for fire pink blooms starting in late April or early May.  They will continue blooming into the summer.

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