Dianthus is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants in the family Caryophyllaceae, native mainly to Europe and Asia, with a few species extending south to north Africa, and one species (D. repens) in arctic North America. Common names include carnation (D. caryophyllus), pink (D. plumarius and related species) and sweet william (D. barbatus).
|Dianthus caryophyllus flower|
The species are mostly herbaceous perennials, a few are annual or biennial, and some are low subshrubs with woody basal stems. The leaves are opposite, simple, mostly linear and often strongly glaucous grey green to blue green. The flowers have five petals, typically with a frilled or pinked margin, and are (in almost all species) pale to dark pink. One species, D. knappii, has yellow flowers with a purple centre. Some species, particularly the perennial pinks, are noted for their strong spicy fragrance.
- Dianthus alpinus – Alpine pink
- Dianthus amurensis – Amur pink
- Dianthus anatolicus
- Dianthus arenarius – sand pink
- Dianthus armeria – Deptford pink
- Dianthus balbisii
- Dianthus barbatus – sweet william
- Dianthus biflorus
- Dianthus brevicaulis
- Dianthus burgasensis
- Dianthus callizonus
- Dianthus campestris
- Dianthus capitatus
- Dianthus carthusianorum – Carthusian pink
- Dianthus caryophyllus – carnation or clove pink
- Dianthus chinensis – China pink
- Dianthus cruentus
- Dianthus cyprius – North Cyprus pink
- Dianthus deltoides – maiden pink
- Dianthus erinaceus
- Dianthus fragrans
- Dianthus freynii
- Dianthus fruticosus
- Dianthus furcatus
- Dianthus gallicus – French pink or Jersey pink
- Dianthus giganteus
- Dianthus glacialis
- Dianthus gracilis
- Dianthus graniticus
- Dianthus gratianopolitanus – Cheddar pink
- Dianthus haematocalyx
- Dianthus japonicus
- Dianthus japigicus
- Dianthus kladovanus
- Dianthus knappii
- Dianthus libanotis – Lebanon pink
- Dianthus lusitanus
- Dianthus microlepis
- Dianthus moesiacus
- Dianthus monspessulanus – fringed pink
- Dianthus myrtinervius – Albanian pink
- Dianthus nardiformis
- Dianthus nitidus
- Dianthus pavonius
- Dianthus pendulus
- Dianthus petraeus
- Dianthus pinifolius
- Dianthus plumarius – garden pinks, wild pink
- Dianthus pungens
- Dianthus repens – boreal carnation
- Dianthus scardicus
- Dianthus seguieri – Sequier's pink
- Dianthus simulans
- Dianthus spiculifolius
- Dianthus squarrosus
- Dianthus strictus
- Dianthus subacaulis
- Dianthus superbus – large pink
- Dianthus sylvestris
- Dianthus tenuifolius
- Dianthus urumoffii
- Dianthus zonatus
- 'Devon Xera' – Fire Star Dianthus
- 'John Prichard'
The name Dianthus is from the Greek words Διός Dios ("of Zeus") and ἀνθός anthos ("flower"), and was cited by the Greek botanist Theophrastus. The color pink may be named after the flower, coming from the frilled edge of the flowers: the verb "to pink" dates from the 14th century and means "to decorate with a perforated or punched pattern". As is also demonstrated by the name of "pinking shears", special scissors for cloth that create a zigzag or decorative edge that discourages fraying.
Dianthus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including cabbage moth, double-striped pug, large yellow underwing and the lychnis. Also three species of Coleophora case-bearers feed exclusively on Dianthus; C. dianthi, C. dianthivora and C. musculella (which feeds exclusively on D. superbus).
Since 1717, dianthus species have been extensively bred and hybridised to produce many thousands of cultivars for garden use and floristry, in all shades of white, pink, yellow and red, with a huge variety of flower shapes and markings. They are often divided into the following main groups:-
- Border carnations – fully hardy, growing to 60 cm (24 in), large blooms
- Perpetual flowering carnations – grown under glass, flowering throughout the year, often used for exhibition purposes, growing to 150 cm (59 in)
- Malmaison carnations – derived from the variety 'Souvenir de la Malmaison', growing to 70 cm (28 in), grown for their intense "clove" fragrance
- Old-fashioned pinks – older varieties; evergreen perennials forming mounds of blue-green foliage with masses of flowers in summer, growing to 45 cm (18 in)
- Modern pinks – newer varieties, growing to 45 cm (18 in), often blooming two or three times per year
- Alpine pinks – mat-forming perennials, suitable for the rockery or alpine garden, growing to 10 cm (4 in)
Dianthus gratianopolitanus – the Cheddar pink – was chosen as the county flower of Somerset in 2002 following a poll by the wild flora conservation charity Plantlife. Dianthus japonicus is the official flower of Hiratsuka, Kanagawa, Japan.
- "Dianthus 'Devon Xera' Fire Star – Plant Finder".
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1-4053-3296-4.
- Leslie, A.C. (2012). The International Dianthus Register (1983) & Checklist: Twenty-ninth Supplement. Royal Horticultural Society.
- "RHS advice & tips on garden & indoor plants – Plant finder & selector / RHS Gardening".
- "Language of Flowers – Flower Meanings, Flower Sentiments". www.languageofflowers.com. Retrieved 2016-11-26.
- Plantlife website County Flowers page. Archived 2015-04-30 at the Wayback Machine