FLORA OF ICELAND elements: Silene acaulis, moss campion

Silene acaulis; The moss campion is common on sandy dry, often eroded, soils from the coastal regions to the desert sands of the highlands. The, often hemispherical shaped, cushions are very characteristic. It seems that in the past this plant was used as a vegetable source on Iceland when times where bad for the outback peasants (also see a note on the Stelaria media weed - also a pink family member - on the chickweed page). The leaves are a little succulent ("fleshy") which could explain why people used this as a food source in the past. The plant has a central root from which spread circularly short stems with short-stalked flowers. This leads to the characteristic spherical tussocks.
It is a member of the pink family (Caryophyllaceae). The Icelandic name of this species is Lambagras.

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A brief introduction to Iceland plants
Text & Photographs by Dick Vuijk - unless stated otherwise

A small plant with foliage structure and single flower showing its campion characteristics
A cross section of a tussock showing the central rootstock,
  Photo by Ruud Schaafsma

Fruit/seed development stage
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A small plant with single flower

Cross section of a tussock
Photo: Ruud Schaafsma

Fruiting stage

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