Dianthus armeria L.
May to October I Family: Caryophyllaceae
Flower: Each flower stalk ends in a single vividly pink half inch across flower. Each flower appears to be set into a brushy mix of long, narrow, pointed bracts and sepals. The five petals are pink with white spots with a reddish pink line forming a pentagon half way out. The petals are lobed on the ends. Ten stamens and two pistils are in the center tube of the flower.
Leaf: Opposite leaves have a common sheathe surrounding the stem at the leaf node. They are long and narrow curving down to a blunt point. They have smooth edges and are covered with short hairs. The basal leaves are wider with more rounded points and longer hairs.
Stem: The unbranched stem can reach three feet. There are short hairs at each leaf node. Flower stalks arise in the leaf nodes often branching. The stem is green, round and stiff.
Root: The annual or biennial root is a slender taproot.
Fruit: The fruit is a half inch long cylindrical pod pointed on both ends.
Habitat: This plant prefers drier disturbed ground like roadsides but sunny locations like edges of woods, pastures and fence lines are used too.
Deptford Pink got its name from the locality it was found in: Deptford, England. The pink part is because it is a member of the pink family many members of which are popular garden flowers. Carnations are pinks.
The plant has been in the New World since colonial times. There is doubt that gardeners brought it over because the flowers are much smaller than other pinks. The seeds may have been mixed in with crop seeds. However it arrived, Deptford Pinks are well established.
Deptford Pink flowers are about half an inch across. The bright pink petals are spread out flat giving maximum visibility. The plants have numerous flower stalks with many flowers ranging from forming buds to open flowers to closed flowers forming seeds.
Disturbed ground such as along roadsides is preferred by Deptford Pinks. The stems and leaves are slender and easily overwhelmed by other more robust plants. Occasional mowing encourages the plants as they will put up new stems and continue blooming.