Dianthus barbatus L.
Family: Caryophyllaceae
sweetwilliam
Dianthus barbatus image
Perennial herb with a stout taproot 30 cm - 0.6 m tall Stem: upright, unbranched, sometimes branched above. Leaves: opposite, five to ten pairs, short-stalked to stalkless, 6 - 10 cm long, 1 - 2 cm wide (basal leaves wider), lance-shaped to reverse lance-shaped with a pointed tip. Inflorescence: a many-flowered head subtended by narrow, leafy bracts. Flowers: whitish to dark red, toothed at the apex. Stamens ten. Styles two. Sepals: five, forming a cylindrical tube (calyx). Calyx about 1.5 cm long, about 40-veined. Petals: five, whitish to dark red, 0.5 - 1 cm long, broad, clawed, toothed at the apex. Fruit: a dehiscent capsule (opening by four teeth), about 1 cm long. Seeds numerous, blackish brown, shield-shaped.

Similar species: Dianthus barbatus is unique among the Dianthus of the region in that its flowers grow in dense heads.

Flowering: June to August

Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Europe. Commonly cultivated as an ornamental. An occasional escape from cultivation.

Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native

Etymology: Dianthus comes from the Greek words dios, meaning divine, and anthos, meaning flower; the divine flower or the flower of Zeus. Barbatus means bearded.

Author: The Morton Arboretum

Stout, glabrous perennial 3-6 dm; cauline lvs 5-10 pairs, lanceolate to oblanceolate, mostly 6-10 נ1-2 cm, acute or acuminate, the basal ones wider; infl a many-fld head with narrow, leafy bracts; cal glabrous, 15-18 mm, ca 40-nerved; pet-blade whitish to dark red, 5-10 mm, broad, toothed around the broad summit; fr 1 cm; 2n=30. Native of Eurasia, occasionally escaped from cult. especially in the n. part of our range. June-Aug.

Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.

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