Maiden Pinks

2017 January 14

We have little purple flowers blooming at random places all over our yard, like this one from July 1, 2016. They start blooming in the spring, and we see them all the way through to September.


The blossoms are pretty, but very tiny, as you can see by comparing this one to my fingertips:


Aside from the blossoms, there is almost no discernable plant. Just a short stem with small, scale-like leaves.


I eventually tracked these down as being “Maiden Pinks”, Dianthus deltoides. They are fairly closely related to the two species of campions that I posted last week and three weeks ago, and like them they are not native to North America. Unlike them, these were almost certainly introduced on purpose as an ornamental plant, because they are very pretty (and quite hardy). They have definitely gone feral, though, because in addition to finding them in our lawn kind of mixed in with the grass, we also regularly find them growing way back in the woods. They don’t seem to have the characteristics of an invasive plant, as they don’t take over an area and crowd out everything else, so I think they make a nice addition to the local flora.

I don’t think I agree with calling them “pinks”, though. I would say that they are a fairly definite purple.

2 Responses
  1. Jenn R permalink
    January 14, 2017

    They’re called pinks because the flower edges are ‘pinked’. The dianthus family comes in lots of colors, from white to red to blue to varicolored, and they all (except the very few bred for smoother edges) have pinked or fringed petals.

  2. January 14, 2017

    Thanks, Jenn. That makes a lot more sense than having them called pink in spite of being some other color.

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