May 27, 2017

Out of London

Dianthus armeria - Deptford pink

Dianthus armeria – Deptford pink | Photo courtesy of Glen Mittelhauser/Maine Natural History Observatory

A British invasion of another sort comes in the form of Dianthus armeria, a species of pink that has found its way into nearly every state in the lower 48. It’s even found in Hawaii. This herbaceous annual or biennial can easily top a couple of feet in height, but the five-petaled flowers are quite petite, barely a half-inch wide. Commonly known as Deptford pink, the plant prefers fields and meadows but has also been cultivated as an ornamental and thus its spread is so much greater as it has escaped cultivation. And the name Deptford? According to Go Botany, the name was for the town “in which this species was formerly common.” And where is Deptford? It’s now part of south London on the River Thames. Where, we assume, the Deptford pink still grows. And if not, then we know where they can find them.

Wild Wednesday is a collaboration of Garden Maine and Glen Mittelhauser of the nonprofit Maine Natural History Observatory, www.mainenaturalhistory.org.