Spanish catchfly Silene otites

‘Clover, catchfly, adder’s-tongue    And brier-roses, dwelt among.’-    Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The Humble-Bee”


A delicate and rare plant, Spanish Catchfly is found only in the grass heaths and roadsides of East Anglia.

How to spot it

Tall, narrow spikes of tiny, lacy, cream-coloured flowers are borne above a rosette of narrow, dark green leaves.

Where it grows

Largely confined to the roadside banks and heaths of the Breckland of Norfolk and Suffolk.

Best time to see

In flower from June to August

How's it doing?

Spanish Catchfly has declined significantly over the last century mainly as a result of loss of habitat due to agricultural intensification and afforestation.

3 things you might not know

  • Its intense scent is lighter in the daytime, attracting bees and flies and strongest after sunset to lure night-flying moths to pollinate it.
  • Although its name may suggest otherwise, it is a British native.
  • It requires disturbed ground for new seedlings to establish successfully.