Dianthus armeria

A small-flowered plant from Europe with pink, white-dotted petals

Dianthus armeria Deptford pink

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously

This annual or biennial plant of the pink family is native to Europe but is one or many foreign species that has become widespread in North America, including all parts of Pennsylvania. The plant itself is very slender with paired, needle-like, hairy leaves and may be mistaken for a tall grass plant until it blooms. It can grow 8-20 inches high.

The 1/3-inch wide flower has five deep pink petals with jagged edges and tiny white spots. The calyx is about ¾ inch long and is pubescent. The bracts form long bristles around the flower. The flowering stalks are more hairy than the main stems. There are ten stamens with pink anthers. The fruit is a capsule that contains many seeds. The plant spreads by reseeding. The small flowers cannot be spotted from a distance. When you are close, however, the bright pink coloration stands out sharply from the background.

The plant is named for the town of Deptford, England, where it was once abundant. Deptford is now part of London and the plant is no longer common there. The plant blooms from May until September and is probably pollinated by small bees, skippers and butterflies.

Like many weedy plants, Deptford pink grows well in poor and disturbed soil and can be found in pastures, old fields, roadsides and waste places. In places where it grows it does not dominate the ecosystem, but blends with other vegetation. Deptford pink can be grown as a garden ornamental, but the small size of the flowers diminishes its popularity.

Contributed by: Mark Welchley

Grows in fields, along roadsides, and other man-disturbed habitats.

Present throughout the state.

Wetland codes

Flowers May to September.

Dianthus armeria Deptford pink

Plant grows in the wild/spontaneously
Dianthus armeria gallery
Plant Life-Form
annual or biennial forb