Sea campion Silene maritima

If you happen to be near rocky places such as sea cliffs, shingle coastlines or even gravel paths during the summer months you will most likely come across sea campion. It is usually found growing alone but it can also occasionally be seen in small clusters.


Each sea campion flower has a pink- and purple-veined calyx flowerhead and five white, bi-lobed petals. This means that each individual petal is split down the middle, giving the illusion of ten petals instead of five. The sea campion’s upright grey-green stems are covered in small, waxy, lance-shaped leaves.


  • Height: 15–30cm




Common on most coastlines in Scotland, but particularly on the west coast.

When to see

May – September


  • The sea campion has also been referred to as ‘dead man’s bells’, ‘witches thimbles’ and ‘Devil’s hatties’
  • According to folklore this plant should not be picked as it is said to bring death

Common name

Sea campion

Species name

Silene maritima

IUCN Red List status


When to see in Scotland

May – September

Where to see in Scotland

Scottish Wildlife Trust reserves such as Grey hill grasslands or Longhaven Cliffs

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