Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pink)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soil; roadsides, abandoned fields, ditches, trail edges, clearings|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||4 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: UPL MW: FACU NCNE: UPL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are usually solitary, sometimes in clusters of 2 to 4 at the top of the stem and the occasional branching stem in the upper plant. Flowers are about 1/3 inch across with 5 pale to deep pink to bright red petals, commonly with a darker band near the base of the petal, forming a ring around the center of the flower. Petals are toothed on the tip half and have a few long hairs on the upper surface. In the center are 10 stamens with purplish tips.
The calyx surrounding flower forms a slender, green tube 3/8 to ¾ inch long with 5 narrowly triangular lobes. Around the base are 1 or 2 bracts about half as long as the calyx, broadly lance-shaped with a pointed tip and thin, whitish edging. The calyx and bracts are hairless.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are up to 1½ inches long and less than 1/8 inch wide, toothless, hairless or minutely hairy along major veins and edges, lance-linear, tapering to a blunt or pointed tip, bulging at the leaf node where a pair of opposite leaves join the stem. Stems are green or tinged red, slender and stiff, unbranched or branched in the upper stem, hairless or minutely hairy.
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.
Maiden Pink is a European introduction brought in through the gardening trade and occasionally escapes cultivation. It's usually found in disturbed areas such as roadsides, fields, ditches, woodland openings and trail edges. We have not seen it ourselves in the wild in Minnesota but encountered it a few times while traveling through Wisconsin and Michigan. It is somewhat similar to the related Deptford Pink (Dianthus armeria), which is a taller plant and has flowers with narrower petals, a hairy calyx and longer, narrower, hairy floral bracts.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Michigan and Wisconsin. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Wisconsin.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?