Fire Pink (Silene virginica) is a wildflower in the pink family, Caryophyllaceae. It is known for its distinct brilliant red flowers. Each flower is approximately five centimeters in diameter and composed of five notched, brilliant red petals which extend into a long tube. It is a small (20-80 cm tall), short-lived perennial (2-3 years), with lance shaped leaves. Its stems, and the bases of the flowers, are covered in short sticky hairs. Fire Pink begins blooming in late spring and continuing throughout the summer. It is sometimes grown in wildflower, shade, and rock gardens.
Fire Pink grows in open woods and rocky deciduous slopes in eastern North America
, ranging as far north as extreme southern Ontario
. It is protected as a state endangered
species in Wisconsin
, and as a state threatened
species in Michigan
Fire Pink's principal pollinator is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris), which is attracted by the flowers bright red petals and sugary nectar.
There are two recognized varieties of fire pink. Most plants of this species are classified as Silene virginica
, however an endemic
subspecies occurs in West Virginia
called Silene virginica