Latin Name: Silene vulgaris, (Silene cucubalus, Silene inflata)

Other Names: Collejas, Sculpit, Stridolo

Characteristics

  • native to Europe, widespread in North America
  • widely branching plant
  • 1 - 3 feet tall mature plants
  • white and/or pink flowers in shape of a balloon
  • leaves on the smaller, narrow side
  • leaves green, some greenish-blue
  • leaf texture more tougher, lightly rubbery/waxy
  • hairless leaves and stems
  • prefers neutral to alkali soils that are dry
  • generally found alongside paths and/or open grassy or rough ground

Edible Uses

  • great nutrition potential
  • very high in essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 (3)
  • young shoots and leaves delicate sweet, pea-like tasting
  • young shoots and leaves can be eaten raw
  • older, mature leaves are tougher and more bitter
  • older, mature leaves are normally steamed, blanched, or boiled
  • great for salads, stir-fry, soups, stews and similar dishes

Medicinal Uses

  • not common
  • nervous system benefits (1)
  • vermifuge properties; expelling worms (1)
  • Silene apetala juice used for eye treatments (2)
  • Silene apetala used in baths or as a compress for its emollient properties (2)

Other Uses

  • Flowers used for decoration, in bouquets, fresh or dry

Cautionary Uses

  • contains saponins (can be toxic in large quantities, neutralized by cooking, saponins are generally poorly absorbed by human body and pass through without harm)

References & Resources

  1. The Chicago Medical Journal and Examiner, volume 49, 1884.
  2. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants, 1956.
  3. Fatty Acid Profiles of Some Spanish Wild Vegetables, 2012.