seed-head of a Red Campion plant Silene dioica.
During the Autumn, the pot shaped seed chamber opens at the top, allowing
dozens of tiny seeds inside to be dispersed by the wind as it shakes the chamber.
Red Campions are a common roadside and bankside plant throughout much of
Britain, and are also found growing in and around woodland, preferring alkaline soils.
A perennial (meaning that it can live for more than two years), the Red Campion is
often a tall plant growing up to 1 metre in height, producing oppositely placed elliptical
leaves and bright pink flower heads on long hairy stems. Each flower consists of 5
forked petals and is either male or female. They are insect pollinated, meaning that
visiting insects transfer pollen from the male to the female flowers. The flowering
season lasts from March until November.
The ripe seed capsule developing from the fertilised female flower has 10
small 'teeth' at the top. These fold back to create a small hole, allowing the tiny
light seeds inside to be dispersed by the wind as it blows the seed head.
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