49. Silene repens Patrin ex Persoon, Syn. Pl. 1: 500. 1805.
Silene purpurata Greene; S. repens subsp. australis C. L. Hitchcock & Maguire; S. repens var. australis (C. L. Hitchcock & Maguire) C. L. Hitchcock; S. repens var. costata (Williams) B. Boivin; S. repens subsp. purpurata (Greene) C. L. Hitchcock & Maguire
Plants perennial; taproot slender; caudex branched, woody, producing subterranean creeping stems and clumps of flowering and vegetative shoots. Stems erect to straggling, branched or simple, leafy, 7-35 cm, retrorse-puberulent. Leaves 2 per node, sessile, blade 1-veined, linear, lanceolate, or narrowly oblong, tapered to base, apex acute, puberulent on both surfaces. Inflorescences cymose, compound, ca. (2-)5-20-flowered, usually compact, bracteate; bracts narrowly lanceolate, 2-15 mm. Pedicels ascending, 0.1-1(-2) cm, shorter or longer than calyx, eglandular or with scattered glands, pubescence white, dense, short. Flowers: calyx obscurely 10-veined, tubular-campanulate, 10-15 × 3-5 mm in flower, becoming clavate and 5-6 mm broad in fruit, herbaceous, villous, veins purple tinged or entirely purple, without conspicuous pale commissures, lobes ovate, 1-2.5 mm, margins broad, scarious, apex obtuse; corolla rose pink, rarely white, clawed, claw equaling calyx, broadened distally, limb obconic, 2-lobed, 3-7 mm, appendages 0.7-1.2 mm; stamens equaling calyx; styles 3(-4), exserted. Capsules ovoid, equaling calyx, opening by 6 (or 8) spreading teeth; carpophore 4-7 mm. Seeds grayish brown, not winged, reniform, 0.8-1 mm, rugose on sides, margins shortly papillate. 2n = 24, 48.
Flowering summer. Arctic and mountain areas, dry grassy slopes, open woods, sagebrush, rocky outcrops, talus, gravel flats; of conservation concern; 0-3200 mm; B.C., N.W.T., Yukon; Alaska, Idaho, Mont., Wash., Wyo.; Eurasia.
Three subspecies have been recognized within Silene repens on the basis of stature and the development of purple pigment in the calyx. Northern populations in the flora area have been referred to subsp. purpurata because of the unusually heavy pigment of the calyx, while the disjunct populations in the central Rocky Mountains have been recognized as subsp. australis. However, both of these forms occur among collections from Eurasia that have been referred to subsp. repens. When material from populations of subsp. purpurata was grown farther south, it took on the appearance of subsp. australis, suggesting that the differences are under environmental influence.