The two houses of the woodland sprite

Pink Red Champion
Pink Red Champion

Red Campion is pink. It doesn’t matter how many times I look at it, or photograph it, it still looks pink to me. It grows in profusion on roadsides on Westray although I’ve rarely been able to photograph it successfully as it keeps moving every time the wind blows; and on Westray that means it’s always moving.

It’s an odd plant because there are separate male and female plants with subtly different flowers. The differences may be subtle, but they’re as important to a Campion, (or Champion, which is where the word comes from), as they are to us. Its scientific name is Silene dioica because Silenus was a Greek woodland deity and dioecious is from the Greek for ‘two households’ because there are two sexes of the plant. Other plants like it, with separate male and female plants, are Willows and Cannabis.

Red Campion is a woodland sprite which lives in two houses; or at least it would be if Westray had any woodland.

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