Interesting Facts About the Wildflower Lychnis


Lychnis is a genus of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native to Europe and Asia. The genus includes about 30 species of annuals, biennials, and perennials. They are found in a wide range of habitats, including woodlands, meadows, marshes, and rocky slopes.

Lychnis is also known as catchflies, due to the sticky stems of some species, which trap insects. The common name “maltese cross” is also used for some species in this genus, particularly Lychnis chalcedonic.

So here we have some interesting facts about Lychnis for you:

Family: Caryophyllaceae

A close up of a flower

Lychnis is a genus of flowering plants that includes other popular flowers like carnations and baby’s breath. Some members are commonly known as “lychee” because they’re typically pollinated by flies, which carry their pollen on the wind; this makes them an excellent choice for attracting beneficial insects to your garden.

Origin: Europe and Asia

A close up of a flower

Lychnis is everywhere! You can find this flower in woodlands, meadows, and marshes. It is not uncommon for them to grow near lakes or rivers either because they like moist environments with lots of shade as well- which makes sense considering how their name origins come from the Greek word “lynch-” meaning hollowed out the area where water gathered before flowing off again.”

Lychnis Means “Light”

Lychnis also goes by the name, “catchfly” which is quite literal. These stems are sticky and often trap insects- even small mammals! The common name “maltese cross” is used for some species in this genus, particularly Lychnis chalcedonic. This name comes from the fact that the flowers somewhat resemble the maltese cross- a symbol often seen on fire trucks.

They Were Used To Treat Wounds

The ancient Greeks and Romans used to crush the leaves of Lychnis flowers into a pulp which they applied on wounds as an antiseptic or for pain relief. The crushed-up flower can also be dipped in water before applying it to various kinds of burns, stings, etc., giving you one powerful all-purpose remedy. We can also find mention of this usage in the famous herbal remedy book, Culpeper’s Complete Herbal.

All Lychnis Species Are Edible

Did you know that all species of Lychnis are edible? The flowers, leaves, and stems can all be eaten raw or cooked. They have a slightly peppery taste similar to radishes, making them a great addition to salads. The flower petals can also be used as a colorful garnish on various dishes.

A Natural Dye

The flowers of Lychnis coronaria are often used as a natural dye and produce a lovely pink color. This process is actually quite simple and only requires the flowers, some mordant, and water. Mordant is a substance used to fix the color of fabric or wood and can be anything from vinegar to salt.

Lychnis Attracts Butterflies

Lychnis is a great addition to any garden because not only do they add color and beauty, but also attract butterflies! Some species that are particularly well at attracting these insects include Lycopodium Annotinerve ( Broken-hearted), lickspittle pie annual flower which has a yellow center marrying its green leaves together into an appealing pattern; Solms’ bladderwrack is another plant you can use if your looking for something with interesting colors across its petals while still offering nectar plenty of places so bees will come around too, and lastly the woolly mullein which is a biennial that has small yellow flowers blooming in dense spikes at the top of the plant.

They’re Easy To Grow

Lychnis is easy to grow and makes for great cut flowers. They prefer full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil. They’re also quite drought tolerant once they’re established. To propagate, simply take stem cuttings in spring or summer and root them in sand or peat moss. You can also sow the seeds directly in the garden in late spring.

A Few Species To Try

There are over 50 species of Lychnis, so there’s definitely one to suit every garden. Some of our favorites include:

-Lychnis chalcedonic (Maltese Cross):

This species has brilliant red flowers that bloom in summer. It grows to about 2 feet tall and is great for garden beds and borders.

-Lychnis coronaria (Rose Campion):

This is a beautiful pink flower that blooms in summer. It grows to about 1-2 feet tall and is perfect for adding color to your garden.

-Lychnis Flos-cuniculi (Ragged Robin):

This flower has pretty pink flowers that bloom in spring. It grows to about 1-2 feet tall and is perfect for your garden.


Lychnis is a beautiful, easy-to-grow flower that adds color and interest to any garden. With so many different species to choose from, there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for your garden. These flowers are also a great way to attract butterflies and bees to your garden. So why not add a few Lychnis to your garden today!

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