Scientific Name
Common Names
Naturalised Distribution
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Click on images to enlarge

infestation (Photo: Trevor James)

habit (Photo: Trevor James)

lower leaves (Photo: Trevor James)

stem and upper leaves (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

close-up of upper leaf (Photo: Trevor James)

whitish or pale pink flowers of Silene gallica var. gallica (Photo: Trevor James)

pink flowers of Silene gallica var. gallica  from side-on showing the hairy sepals (Photo: Trevor James)

close-up of the pink flowers of Silene gallica var. gallica (Photo: Trevor James)

Silene gallica var. quinquevulnera flowers (Photo: Trevor James)

close-up of Silene gallica var. quinquevulnera flower showing the reddish blotches on its petals (Photo: Greg Jordan)

immature fruit enclosed in sepals (Photo: Sheldon Navie)

mature fruit (Photo: Trevor James)

close-up of mature fruit (Photo: Trevor James)

close-up of seeds (Photo: Carole Ritchie at USDA PLANTS Database)

seedling (Photo: Trevor James)

young plant (Photo: Trevor James)

Silene gallica

Scientific Name

Silene gallica L.


Silene anglica L.
Silene gallica L. var. gallica
Silene gallica L. var. quinquevulnera (L.) Koch
Silene quinquevulnera L.



Common Names

common catchfly, English catchfly, French catchfly, French silene, gunpowder weed, Mediterranean catchfly, small catchfly, small-flower catchfly, small-flowered catchfly, smallflowered catchfly, spotted catchfly, windmill pink


Native to northern Africa, the Azores, the Madeira Islands, the Canary Islands, Europe, the middle-east, western Asia and the Indian Sub-continent.

Naturalised Distribution

Widely naturalised in southern and eastern Australia (i.e. Queensland, New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, in many parts of South Australia and in the southern and western parts of Western Australia). It is also naturalised on Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island.

Widely naturalised in other parts of the world, including North America (i.e. Canada and the USA).


French catchfly (Silene gallica) is regarded as an environmental weed in Western Australia and Victoria.

Note: Two forms of this species are present in Australia (i.e. Silene gallica var. gallica and Silene gallica var. quinquevulnera), which can be distinguished from each other by differences in flower colour. Silene gallica var. gallica has white or pink flowers, while Silene gallica var. quinquevulnera has flowers with dark red blotches their petals.