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Robin Hood - Silene dioica (plant name)

Plant name
Folk name Robin Hood
Binomial name Silene dioica
First recorded 1844
Used where West of England [South West?]
Robinhood, red campion, silene dioica (photo: unknown, from Wikipedia).
Field of red campion or Robinhood (Silene dioica) at Goodygrane (photo copyright: Rod Allday, under Creative Commons license).

By Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2014-08-13. Revised by Henrik Thiil Nielsen, 2017-06-15.

'Robinhood' is listed in James Orchard Halliwell's Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words (1847) as a popular name for red campion, Silene dioica.[1] According to Halliwell, the name was then used in the West of England. He may have chosen the spelling 'Robinhood' because this was the form under which the name appeared in the first known (1844) source to mention it (see Quotations section below).

Red campion is a herbaceous flowering plant of the family Caryophyllaceae that grows on damp, non-acid soils, in roadsides, woodlands and rocky slopes. It is found natively in much of Europe.


1844 - Barnes, William - Miaken up a Miff

Look up an' let the evemen light
But sparkle in thy eyes so bright
As thāe be oben to the light
O' zunzet in the west
An' lè's stroll here var hafe an hour
Wher hangèn boughs damiake a bow'r
Upon theōs bank wi' eltrot flow'r
An' Robinhoods a-drest.[2]



  • N.E.D., vol. VIII, pt. I, p. 736, s.n. Robin Hood, sb., 3 b.

Brief mention


Also see


  1. Halliwell, James Orchard, comp. A Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, Obsolete Phrases, Proverbs, and Ancient Customs, from the Fourteenth Century (London, 1847), vol. II, p. 688 s.n. Robinhood.
  2. Barnes, William. Poems of Rural Life, in the Dorset Dialect: with a Dissertation and a Glossary (London; Dorchester, 1844), p. 105.