DEPTFORD PINK

Dianthus armeria

Dianthus armeria - Deptford Pink.jpg

An extraordinarily vivid pink flower which grows at a range of sites in England, but feared to be one of our fastest declining species.

  • Rarity: 24 sites across England an South Wales. It is feared recently extinct in Dorset and Somerset.

  • Cause of decline: Lack of management at several of its sites has led to the loss of the open conditions it requires for survival. This has combined with a decrease in animals likely to spread the seeds to greatly endanger remaining populations.

Deptford Pink is a striking member of the Pink family, closely related to many of the blooms seen commonly in gardens. It is heavily reliant on bare ground in order to germinate and establish basal rosettes, and therefore can be lost rapidly from unmanaged habitats.

Its seeds appear to have good dispersal mechanisms, and this combined with unofficial plantings, have meant that new populations are frequently recorded, but few persist for long

A member of the Carnation family that can grow up to 60cm tall, it has shiny dark-green lanceolate basal leaves. Flowers measure 8-13mm across and grow in short-stalked clusters with vivid pink petals with pale dots and irregularly toothed tips. The flowers lack scent and as a result are infrequently visited by insects, with the plants mainly self-pollinating.

Deptford Pink usually occurs as a biennial, forming a rosette in its first summer before flowering in its second year, but can sometimes complete its lifecycle in a single season. The rosettes, if present, can be be found all year round. It is generally self-pollinated, produces abundant seed but has a germination period of up to 5 months