Children love popping the bell-shaped, air-filled blossoms of maidenstears (silene vulgaris) on the back of their hands. The unique shape of its blossoms, also called bladder campion in English, has also led to all sorts of nicknames in various German dialects. Maidenstears grow in a variety of locations. Their ability to thrive in a variety of open areas has made them a pioneer plant of sorts, capable of prospering in places rich in heavy metals. An ideal natural spy, they are considered a bio-indicator for soil containing high levels of metal. In high-Alpine environments maidenstears are often found on avalanche slopes or areas affected by rock or mudslides.