a genus of plants of the family Caryophyllaceae. The plants are herbs with opposite leaves. The flowers are bisexual or unisexual; some species are dioecious. The fruit is a unilocular polyspermous pod. There are approximately 100 species in the northern (almost everywhere) and southern (the Cape region and the Andes) hemispheres.
In the USSR there are more than 30 species, most of them in the tundra, but also in high mountain meadows, rocks, and dry slopes. White campion (M. album ) is found in the meadows, fallow fields, and plantings of forest and steppe zones; it has average fodder qualities. A few species of Melandrium are used as ornamentals. The name “melandrium” is sometimes applied to some plants of other genera of the Caryophyllaceae family (Lychnis, Viscaria ) with drooping, seemingly slumbering, flowers.