Gibraltar Campion Facts
- This delicate yet gorgeous plant remains best known as the Gibraltar Campion. The marvelous flower also has a true story to tell. That’s true since, among other things, this stunning work of Nature currently ranks as one of the rarest of all known plants.
- The species also goes by the less pronounceable scientific name of Silene tomentosa. Regardless of its name, one thing stands out. In fact, this marvelous little beauty remains so rare that, by the year 1992, experts believed it to be extinct.
- Later, however, in 1994, a most fortuitous, at least for botanists and those who appreciate Nature, event occurred. That’s because, at that time, researchers accidentally rediscovered the remarkable species still living in the wild.
- But, the truly gorgeous Gibraltar Campion nevertheless remains exceedingly rare in its natural habitat. Thankfully for the species, however, as well as those who appreciate Nature, botanists succeeded in propagating a few specimens.
- As a result of their painstaking efforts, these now exist at the Gibraltar Botanic Gardens. This magnificent variety of flora presently, and quite understandably, holds an official status as an Endangered Species. This appears on the IUCN Red List.
Gibraltar Campion Physical Description
The Gibraltar Campion classifies as a woody-based perennial plant. This occurs due to its genetic structure, which may surprise some amateur researchers. Yet, the flower holds this status despite the fact that the marvelous species strongly resembles a small flower.
It also remains relatively small in terms of physical size. In this manner, it proves that plants can be impressive in appearance, regardless of size. Plus, the plant attains a maximum height of about 16 in (40 cm). The great majority of individuals remain much smaller than this, though.
The small, two-lobed flowers of the Gibraltar Campion also merit appreciation. These commonly present a variety of colors to dazzle the eye. These delicate blooms range from a very pale pink to a pale violet in color. As a result, the effect can be quite striking.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Angiosperms
- Class: Eudicots
- Order: Caryophyllales
- Family: Caryophyllaceae
- Genus: Silene
- Species: S. tomentosa
Gibraltar Campion Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
Clearly, the common name of the Gibraltar Campion tells one where to find it. This delicate little beauty lives in only one highly restricted location in the world. That extremely limited range consists of only Gibraltar Rock, located in the United Kingdom, in Europe.
Even there it surprises researchers. This plant also has a highly restricted, specific, and unexpected habitat preference for where it lives. Due to this, the breathtaking flowering plant lives only on the extremely rocky, otherwise desolate, outcrops of Gibraltar Rock itself.
Sadly, scientists still know very little about the ecology of this variety of flora. This lack understandably occurs due to the simple fact of having so few specimens to study. However, efforts to fathom the secrets of the magnificent Gibraltar Campion remain ongoing.
Thankfully for the few remaining wild specimens, it now has a measure of legal protection. The local government passed the Nature Protection Act in 1991. This measure serves to provide the perilously positioned plant with at least a modicum of legal protection.