Silene Tomentosa flowerNothing Rarer, Nor More Valuable:  The Gibraltar Campion

To say that Silene tomentosa is the pride of Britain would be an understatement. Endemic to Britain’s Gibraltar, this rare flowering plant is hence known as the Gibraltar Campion. The bilobed florets are of varied colors, ranging from violet to bright pink.  This mild-fragrant flower blooms for even shorter periods. Located in the rocky outskirts of Gibraltar, it seems to be nature’s own subtle way to save it from evil and prying eyes of humans, or its idea to give the faraway mountains a dash of life, color and of course, hope.

 Silene Tomentosa flowerThis woody perennial is capable to grow about 40 cm and is protected under the Nature Protection Act of 1991 by the Law of Gibraltar.

From the very beginning, it was found in such less numbers that it was thought to be extinct by the scientific community and biologists.  However, the Gibraltar Ornithological & Natural History Society stuck to its view of its presence in 1985 but eventually gave up by 1992 when they failed to find even the slightest hints indicating its presence.

But in 1994, it seemed that flowers bounced back with a bang! A few of them were found growing in the Upper Rock Nature Reserve and in totally inhospitable environment.

Silene Tomentosa flowerThis rediscovery made the biologists sit up and take notice before it is too late. The seeds were propagated at the Millennium Seed Bank to revive the plant in future and a specimen was stored at the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens in London.

This by-chance sighting helped the biologists and botanists to culture flowers artificially in its natural habitat, Upper Rock Nature Reserve located on the Rock of Gibraltar.  It is the only place where you can find this elusive and ethereal beauty in the wild. For the specimen, head to Gibraltar Botanic Gardens.

Fun Trivia:

University Theatre and School of Dance of University of Oklahoma presented contemporary dance by famous choreographers and dancers, Raimondo Rebeck and Sonia Dawkins. The dance pieces eloquently focused loss of innocence in adulthood and were titled ‘Refflesia Arnoldii’ and ‘Middlemist Camellia’ whereas the final last two pieces were based on the loss of innocence in childhood and were named, ‘Lotus Berthelotii’ and ‘Silene Tomentosa,’