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Spalding's Catchfly

Photo of Spalding's Catchfly

Scientific name: Silene spaldingii

Status: Threatened 

Critical Habitat: None

Listing Activity: Spalding's catchfly is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2001).

Potential Range Map 

  • Description and Life History

    Spalding's catchfly is a leafy, perennial plant in the pink family (Caryophyllaceae) with one to several stems, 20-60 cm (8-24 in) tall. The leaves are in 4-8 pairs, are lanceolate (lance-shaped), and are 3-7 cm (1-3 in) long and 5-15 mm (0.2-0.6 in) broad. The inflorescence (arrangement of flowers) is usually very leafy with numerous crowded flowers. The corolla (petals of the flower, collectively) is white. The seeds are wrinkled and inflated, measuring about 2 mm (0.1 in) long. Silene spaldingii faintly resembles S. scouleri, but is more glandular. Spalding's catchfly may be distinguished from Oregon catchfly (S. oregana) by its short petal blades and large inflated seeds. Flowering typically occurs from June to September.


    This species grows on mesic grassland prairies at low- to mid- elevations. Associated species include Idaho fescue (Festuca idahoensis), bluebunch wheatgrass (Agropyron spicatum), Nutka rose (Rosa nutkana), purple avens (Geum triflorum), sticky geranium (Geranium viscosissum), balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata), and scattered Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa).

    Reasons for Decline

    Agricultural and urban development, livestock and native ungulate grazing and trampling, herbicide treatment, and competition from non-native plants have all contributed to the decline of this species.


    Spalding's catchfly is mainly a species of the Palouse Prairie and adjacent areas in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. It is known in Oregon from private land in Wallowa County and on land owned by The Nature Conservancy, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Air Force in Idaho, Washington and Montana.

    References and Links

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2007. Final Recovery Plan for silene spaldingii (Spalding's Catchfly). Federal Register 72:58111–58112 [E7–20159]

    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2001. Final Rule To List Silene spaldingii (Spalding's Catchfly) as Threatened. Federal Register 66:51598-51606 (

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