General: Night-Flowering Catchfly is an annual.
Flowers: Petals are showy, creamy white or pinkish and flare out in a circle. Each flower is 1 – 3 cm wide and has 5 deeply-lobed petals. The flowers open during the night and are closed in the day.
Stem: The stems are straight, with branching ends. Night-Flowering Catchfly reaches 0.2 – 1 m. Stems have swollen nodes and are covered in sticky hairs.
Leaves: The leaves are opposite and taper at both ends. The lower leaves are widest near the tip of the leaf and the middle leaves are widest near the stem. All of the leaves are covered in sticky hairs and are approximately 5 – 12 cm long and 4 cm wide.
Fruit: The seeds are small, greyish-orange, kidney-shaped, and rough. They are enclosed in a 1 mm-long capsule that is brown and bumpy.
Roots: Night-Flowering Catchfly has a thin, finely-branched taproot.
A number of Silene plants are native to BC, and several are rare. However, all native Silene are perennial and none have the stickiness of Night-Flowering Catchfly.
Bladder Campion (Silene vulgaris) seeds tend to be more grey in colour.
Habitat and Origin
Night-Flowering Catchfly is native to Europe.
The plant is common in cultivated fields, pastures, along railways, roadsides, and in disturbed areas. Night-flowering Catchfly thrives in sandy and gravelly soils and requires high summer temperatures (20 degrees Celcius and above) for germination.
Propagation & Vectors of Spread
Night-Flowering Catchfly is an annual plant that reproduces by seed. One plant can produce up to 2,500 seeds and they are generally pollinated by moths. However, the plants can also self-pollinate, especially in contained areas (like greenhouses). Seeds remain viable in the soil for over 3 years.
Most seeds fall to the ground close to the parent plant, however, Night-Flowering Catchfly seeds are very small and hard to separate from clover seed, so the use of contaminated seed is one of its main vectors of spread. Ingested seeds survive the passage through the digestive system of livestock, which also contributes to the plant’s spread.
Ecological, Economic, & Health Impacts
- Outcompetes native species, reducing biodiversity.
- Its prolific seed production enables it to colonize disturbed sites rapidly.
- Unpalatable to livestock.
- Infests grain fields, legume crops, and pastures and can pose problems in gardens and horticultural nurseries.
- Contaminates clover and forage seed, making it difficult to clean.
What Can I Do?
Night-Flowering Catchfly is currently found in the Sea to Sky Corridor, so the best approach to controlling its spread is by PREVENTION.
Learn to identify Night-Flowering Catchfly: use the images presented in this profile page to learn how to identify Night-Flowering Catchfly.
What to do if you spot it: You can report any Night-Flowering Catchfly sighting by clicking here.
- Regularly monitor properties for weed infestations.
- Ensure soil and gravel are uncontaminated before transport.
- Check wildflower mixes to ensure that they do not contain Night-Flowering Catchfly.
- Ensure that plants are disposed of in a garbage bag if found in floral arrangements to prevent seeds from spreading.
- Do not unload, park or store equipment or vehicles in infested areas; remove plant material from any equipment, vehicles, or clothing used in such areas and wash equipment and vehicles at designated cleaning sites before leaving infested areas.
- Do not plant Night-Flowering Catchfly in a garden, no matter how well-contained its enclosure may seem.
- Do not move soil that has been contaminated with Night-Flowering Catchfly.
- Do not compost Night-Flowering Catchfly.
Shallow cultivation can help reduce the plant’s density. In Britain, burning and early tillage are also used to decrease population density. The main objective of mechanical control is to prevent seed production since Night-Flowering Catchfly is an annual.
There are limited herbicide options available for chemical control of this species. Call SSISC to discuss possible options for your site.
We recommend that any herbicide application is carried out by a person holding a valid BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate. Before selecting and applying herbicides, you must review and follow herbicide labels and application rates; municipal, regional, provincial and federal laws and regulations; species-specific treatment recommendations, and site-specific goals and objectives.
There is no biological control agent available for this plant.
- Alaska Center for Conservation Science, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://accs.uaa.alaska.edu/wp-content/uploads/Silene_noctiflora_BIO_SINO.pdf
- Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Weed Seed: Silene noctiflora (Night-flowering catchfly), https://www.inspection.gc.ca/plants/seeds/testing-grading/seeds-identification/silene-noctiflora/eng/1405360004745/1405360005573
- Canadian Science Publishing, The Biology of Canadian Weeds, https://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdfplus/10.4141/cjps80-177
- Electronic Atlas of the Flora of BC, Night-Flowering Catchfly, http://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Silene%20noctiflora
- Farms.com, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://www.farms.com/field-guide/weed-management/night-flowering-catchf.aspx
- Government of BC, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/environment/plants-animals-and-ecosystems/invasive-species/alerts/nightflowering_catchfly.pdf
- Government of Manitoba, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://www.gov.mb.ca/agriculture/crops/weeds/night-flowering-catchfly.html
- Grainews, Identifying those tough to ID weeds, https://www.grainews.ca/2019/04/09/identifying-those-tough-to-id-weeds/
- Invasive Species Council of British Columbia, Field Guide to Noxious Weeds and Other Selected Invasive Plants of British Columbia, https://bcinvasives.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Field_guide_to_Noxious_Weeds_11th_2021.pdf
- NatureGate, Night-Flowering Catchfly, http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kukkakasvit/night-flowering-catchfly
- NatureSpot, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://www.naturespot.org.uk/species/night-flowering-catchfly
- Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs, http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/crops/facts/ontweeds/nightflowering_catchfly.htm
- Ontario Weed Committee, Night-Flowering Catchfly, http://www.weedinfo.ca/en/weed-index/view/id/MELNO
- Ontario Wildflowers, Night-Flowering Catchfly, http://ontariowildflowers.com/main/species.php?id=577
- Peace River Regional District, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://prrd.bc.ca/wp-content/uploads/New-Plants-2016.pdf
- Phoenix Amenity Supplies, Night-Flowering Catchfly, https://www.phoenixamenity.co.uk/night-flowering-catchfly-silene-noctiflora/