Mitotic metaphase chromosomes of Silene latifolia (white campion) and Silene dioica (red campion) were studied and no substantial differences between the conventional karyotypes of these two species were detected. The classification of chromosomes into three distinct groups proposed for S. latifolia by Ciupercescu and colleagues was considered and discussed. Additionally, a new small satellite on the shorter arm of homobrachial chromosome 5 was found. Giemsa C-banded chromosomes of the two analysed species show many fixed and polymorphic heterochromatic bands, mainly distally and centromerically located. Our C-banding studies provided an opportunity to better characterize the sex chromosomes and some autosome types, and to detect differences between the two Silene karyotypes. It was shown that S. latifolia possesses a larger amount of polymorphic heterochromatin, especially of the centromeric type. The two Silene sex chromosomes are easily distinguishable not only by length or DNA amount differences but also by their Giemsa C-banding patterns. All Y chromosomes invariably show only one distally located band, and no other fixed or polymorphic bands on this chromosome were observed in either species. The X chromosomes possess two terminally located fixed bands, and some S. latifolia X chromosomes also have an extra-centric segment of variable length. The heterochromatin amount and distribution revealed by our Giemsa C-banding studies provide a clue to the problem of sex chromosome and karyotype evolution in these two closely related dioecious Silene species.