Plants perennial, rhizomatous; taproot stout; caudex branched, woody. Stems decumbent to ascending, scarcely branched, weak, leafy, with several basal, procumbent, nonflowering shoots, 10-40 cm, softly pilose. Leaves 2 per node, blade 2-9 cm × 10-25 mm; proximal petiolate, petiole ciliate, blade broadly oblanceolate; distal sessile, blade obovate to elliptic or lanceolate, spatulate, margins ciliate, apex acute or obtuse, apiculate, glabrous to sparsely pilose. Inflorescences terminal, cymose, usually 3-flowered, open, bracteate; bracts foliaceous. Pedicels shorter than calyx, pilose, with colorless, large, stipitate glands. Flowers: calyx prominently 10-veined, funnelform, umbilicate in fruit, constricted around carpophore, 20-28 × 5-9 mm, broadening distally, papery, thinly pilose, veins parallel, green, with pale commissures, lobes lanceolate, 4-7 mm, apex acute; corolla showy, pink or white, large, clawed, claw equaling calyx, limb fan-shaped, 15-25 mm, laciniate into many narrow segments, appendages absent; stamens equaling calyx; stigmas 3(-4), equaling calyx. Capsules ovoid, included in calyx, opening by 6 (or 8) teeth; carpophore 7-10 mm. Seeds dark reddish brown, broadly reniform, ca. 1 mm, rugose on sides, margins papillate. 2n = 48. Flowering spring. Rich calcareous loam in deciduous forests and on wooded bluffs; of conservation concern; 0-100 m; Fla., Ga. There is an old collection (Mohr 4000, MO) labelled 'Alabama' without date. I have no other records of the occurrence of Silene polypetala in that state.
This project made possible by National Science Foundation Award 1410069