Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria)

These little flowers were brought over as cottage-garden staples, but they liked it here well enough to adopt it as their new home. They’re not unusual, but still just uncommon enough that running across one in a vacant lot is an unexpected delight. They seem to prefer poor soil, and up on Presque Isle can be found in great numbers just behind the dunes. This one was blooming beside a sidewalk in Beechview in early June.

Gray describes the genus and the species:

Calyx cylindrical, nerved or striate, 5-toothed, subtended by 2 or more imbricated bractlets. Stamens 10. Styles 2. Pod 1-celled, 4-valved at the apex. Seeds flattish on the back; embryo scarcely curved. —Ornamental plants, of well-known aspect and value in cultivation. (Name from Dios, of Jupiter, and anthos, flower, i.e. Jove’s own flower.)

D. ARMERIA L. (DEPTFORD P.) Annual; flowers clustered; bractlets of the calyx and bracts lance-awl-form, herbaceous, downy, as long as the tube; leaves linear, hairy; petals small, rose-color with white dots, crenate. Fields, etc., Mass, to Va., w. to s. Ont., Mich., and Ia. July. (Adv. from Eu.)

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