Lora Conrad

Iowa wildflower Wednesday: Deptford Pink

Thanks to Lora Conrad for sharing these gorgeous pictures. -promoted by desmoinesdem

One summer about 15 years ago, I was walking a path at the Pioneer Ridge Nature Center near Ottumwa and saw among the green plants one stunningly bright, tiny pink flower. Finding out what it was took years! It was not listed in any of the wildflower reference books I had at the time. After seeing more of the tiny bright flowers over the years and then obtaining internet access to wildflower databases, my efforts produced a name and its origins. The brilliant little Deptford pink (Dianthus armeria) is indeed wild, naturalized and, according to uswildflowers.com, is found sprinkled about in 47 of the 50 states—but it is not native to North America. It’s from Europe and is fairly common in western and central Europe but in decline in England.

Its name came from a case of mistaken identity by a 17th century botanist who described another Dianthus that was common around Deptford, England at the time.

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