Interactions with Other Organisms
    Silene latifolia has several interactions with other animals. This plant is a viable food source for bothCaterpillar, prey of Silene latifolia. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons generalist and specialist organisms (Bucheli et al., 2001). Generalist species are organisms that can live in a variety of environments, while specialists are organisms that have very specific habitats. Because Silene latifolia is found in dry, sunny climates, it is able to appeal to generalist species. Because it also inhabits more specific environments, such as around roads and waste plants, it is able to appeal to specialist organisms. Some animals that eat this plant include aphids and catipillars.
    Another way Silene latifolia interacts with organisms is through the process of pollination. Pollination of Silene latifolia occurs by a mutalistic interaction between the plant and animals. This pollination occurs both at night Bee, prey of Silene latifolia. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons(moths) and during the day (bees and butterflies). Though bees pollinate in the early evening, the most common is moth pollination during the evening. Moths have a unique interaction with Silene latifolia because the moth not only pollinates S. latifolia, but at times, the moth will also use the plant to lay its eggs (Garden Organic, 2013). This interaction is not mutualistic like the pollination. When the moth lays its eggs, the larvae willMoth, pollinator of Silene latifolia. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons eat the fruit seeds thereby decreasing the plant's fruit output.  Whether the pollination of the flower outways the decreased amount of seeds left by the larvae is still being experimented (Labouche and Bernasconi, 2010). For more information about the pollination of silene latifolia, check out the reproduction page.

    Silene latifolia
has little interactions with humans. Because it has saponins, which are toxic at high doses, it is advised not to eat large quantities of this plant. Also, the Caryophyllaceae family contians weed species which includes Silene latifolia. It is considered a weed because it grows on cultivated land as a wild plant that has no use. One positive interaction it has with humans is it can be used to make soap substitutes (PFAF, 2012).

Interactions with an STD
Silene Latifola has a parasitic relationship with the anther-smut fungus, which causes an “STD” like effect on the plant's reproductive system (Bucheli, et al., 2001).

 Silene latifolia with Anther Smut Fungus. Used with permission courtesy of A. Jarosz
The figure above depicts the anthers beggining to produce the spores instead of pollen. Picture A shows the normal pollen then to C where the spores have taken place of the pollen.

Silene latifolia with Anther Smut Fungus and Silene latifolia unaffected. Used with permission courtesy of A. JaroszThis fungus produces dark fungal spores, which causes the Anther-Smut disease throughout the family Caryophyllaceae. The fungal disease is spread through the pollen of Silene latifolia. It sterilizes the plant, and then prompts the female to create male anthers that produce fungal spores instead of pollen. The fungal disease also increases the reproduction rate of Silene latifolia once it's producing fungal spores from the anthers. This parasitic interaction allows for optimal growth and reproduction of the fungus while in turn sterilizing the plant. It is considered a plant STD because it is transferred through the pollen and affects the reproductive organs of a plant. On the picture to the left, the flowers on the left are Silene latifolia unaffected by the Angus-Smut fungus, while the flowers of Silene latifolia on the left are infected. Major differences between figure g anf h show the effects the fungus has on the germination rate of the flowers on Silene latifolia.

Interactions with the Environment
    Silene latifolia
is a weed that obtains nutrients from the ground and sunlight. It grows well in fields and along roads or in waste plants (Brandeis, 2004). It also is considered a wildflower that grows naturally throughout North America and Europe. Farmers often considered it a weed because it grows on cultivated land, but nature enthusiasts often describe it as a wildflower growing in open fields. To learn more about the habitat and geography click here. It uses the environment to grow using the nutrient rich soil for a food source. Silene latifolia can be harmful to the environment because it is an invasive species, which means it can take nutrients from surrounding sources preventing those sources from receiving proper nutrients. This would be considered a parasitic interaction if it is harming the surround plants. Most of the time it is a commensalism interaction which means Silene latifolia is obtaining benefits while the environment is not being harmed or benefited (Blair and Wolfe, 2004).

Picture of Silene latifolia. Used with permission, David Cappaert

Hybrid Zones
    Hybrid zones are locations where two subspecies of the same species can reproduce. In Switzerland, there are hybrid zones between Silene latifolia and Silene Dioica. Interactions between the subspecies allow for sexual reproduction, which produce viable offspring (Minder, et al., 2007).


 Reproduction                           Facts