Dianthus armeria (Deptford Pink)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Genus:Dianthus
Family:Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life cycle:annual, biennial
Origin:Europe
Status:
  • Weedy
Habitat:part shade, sun; roadsides, fields, open woods, waste areas
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:8 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: UPL MW: UPL NCNE: UPL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flower] Flowers are solitary or in clusters of 3 to 6 at the top of the stem and the occasional branching stem in the upper plant. Flowers are 1/3 to ½ inch across, with 5 light to shocking pink petals, dotted white, hairy, and toothed on the tip half. In the center are 10 stamens with purplish tips.

[photo of hairy calyx and bracts] The calyx surrounding flower forms a slender, green tube 3/8 to ¾ inch long with 5 thread-like lobes. Around the base are several linear bracts that often extend beyond the flower. The calyx and bracts are covered in short hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are up to 3 inches long and 1/8 inch wide, toothless, finely hairy around the edges especially near the base, tapering to a blunt or pointed tip, bulging at the leaf node where a pair of opposite leaves join the stem, often with fine white hairs covering the node. Stems are green, slender and stiff, often branched in the upper stem, mostly hairless except at the leaf nodes and near the flowers.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

Fruit is an oval to cylindric capsule about as long as the calyx, open at the top with 4 teeth around the mouth. Inside are numerous tiny, blackish-brown seeds.

Notes:

Deptford Pink is a pretty one, indeed. Brought in through the gardening trade, it has escaped cultivation and is making its way across Minnesota, usually in disturbed areas such as roadsides, fields, ditches and trail edges. My first encounter with it was in a restored prairie, where it was scattered and not particularly abundant, likely a contaminant in the seed mix. It is fairly distinctive, but somewhat similar to the related Maiden Pink (Dianthus deltoides), which tends to be a shorter plant and has a hairless calyx, floral bracts that are much shorter and broader, and usually broader flower petals.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken near Stillwater in Washington County. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Washington and Anoka counties.

Comments

Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Mark - Oakdale Nature Preserve
on: 2012-03-03 18:27:26

In the field just west of the Oakdale Discovery Center

Posted by: Carole - Applewood Preserve, Maplewood MN 55119; Ramsey County
on: 2013-07-02 21:05:50

This is just south of the Applewood Park entrance off Sterling St., between the tar path and play area. There are 3 plants. They have been mowed around and haven't spread for three years.

Posted by: Jodi - Center city, Chisago co.
on: 2013-07-07 16:03:41

I have this growing in my yard. It is only about 4" tall because my husband keeps mowing it over. Very pretty and in bloom now.

Posted by: Dianne - Blaine
on: 2013-07-10 16:20:12

I saw a couple of plants today in Lochness Park in Blaine.

Posted by: Bonita - on sand just east of Lanesboro, Fillmore Co.
on: 2014-06-30 13:12:33

Should I pull these tiny beauties?

Posted by: Sarah - Princeton
on: 2014-07-08 15:13:59

This was blooming at Springvale County Park (Isanti County) 7/8/2014. Hadn't seen it in this area yet before.

Posted by: mary - Duluth
on: 2014-08-06 12:03:25

I found this plant growing in the Lester River area of eastern Duluth. It was on top of a rocky outcrop with a thin amount of soil, dry, and in sun.

Posted by: Christian - Aitkin
on: 2016-06-11 20:45:30

Found in our grazing field. Very pretty little flower. Shame it's invasive.

Posted by: Roberta K O - Carlton County
on: 2017-07-23 19:27:33

Last year we saw only a couple. There are many more this year. Very pretty pink.

Posted by: Joe L - Isabella Lake, Pow Wow Trail, BWCA
on: 2017-08-28 03:08:47

I saw several plants like this, August 26, 2017, maybe 6 or 8 all together, not clustered but far apart on the trail, but they did not have the white spotting on the petals, just that shocking pink. Could this still be Dianthis armeria, or some other species entirely?

Posted by: Jill Duncan - Blue Mounds State Park, Rock County, MN
on: 2018-06-24 23:05:28

On rocky outcropping along Upper Mound Lake in the campground.

Posted by: Scott Searcy - Lake Johanna
on: 2019-05-27 09:42:56

I found these in a pasture on Lake Johanna, Pope County.

Posted by: David Bellert - Wrenshall
on: 2019-07-19 20:15:58

Seen in Hawthorne, Douglas county WI not 20 miles from the MN border. Is this flower on the move?

Posted by: Sherman - Duluth
on: 2020-01-17 12:52:10

I used to work a little north of Duluth around 1989, up highway 53 at 4985 Miller Trunk Hwy, Hermantown, MN. The building that I worked in is still there, but it's an "Arrowhead Transit Garage" now ( a bus company). While on break from my work , I used to walk further back on the property where it was overgrown with grass, weeds and brush. While looking over the local plants, I spotted the tiny speckled flowers of Deptford Pink.( Dianthus armeria). I had never seen nor heard of them before, but I liked them so I moved a couple to my yard.

Over the years, I'd spot a plant or two while mowing. A few years ago, I killed off a small patch of Tansy, and seeded it with white clover. Last summer, I saw that Deptford Pinks liked the spot, and a number of them colonized the clover patch. They're small, grass-like, and tolerate mowing so they're not objectionable.

Posted by: Paul henjum - Apple Valley
on: 2020-03-30 06:32:46

An attractive little flower, plants were introduced into our local woodlands along a trail that was mowed, so this species can hitch a ride as seeds on mowers and other machinery. Each plant produces a few seed capsules with many small black seeds each.

Posted by: Maria DeLaundreau - Battle Creek Regional Park - Ramsey County
on: 2020-06-23 16:15:23

I saw this in the restored prairie at Battle Creek 6/20. Bummer it's not native.

Posted by: Erik Brand - Lakeville
on: 2020-06-28 16:21:19

We have found several of these plants in disturbed areas of our imperfectly restored prairie and along the edge of the oak-dominated woods on our property. Delicate, yet stands out. Pity it's non native.

Posted by: Gay c Canseco - MINNEAPOLIS
on: 2020-07-01 16:35:03

I have found many of these on the Munger biking trail near Moose lake.

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