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This genus of herbaceous plant contains around 500 species which are mainly found in Europe, North America and temperate parts of Asia. Some species are edible or grown as ornamentals, but several are regarded as agricultural weeds like white cockle, Silene latifolia, or maidenstears, Silene vulgaris.
The leaves are often lanceolate with smooth margins. The flowers are typically white, pink or red with 5 petals. The petals are fused at the base to form a funnel, tube or an egg-shaped structure, the bladder.
Currently, the following species have been entered into the system: