Open the Advanced Search

Deptford Pink

Dianthus armeria

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
For more information please download the BSBI Code of Conduct PDF document.


Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Annual or Biennial
Maximum Size:
30 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, grassland, meadows, roadsides, rocky places, wasteland.

Pink, 5 petals
The bright pink flowers appear in dense clusters. They are erect and have hairy, leafy bracts. Flowers each measure 8 to 13mm in diameter. The petals are fairly narrow.
The fruit is an oval to cylindrical capsule.
An annual or biennial flower with dark green, hairy leaves. The slender leaves are widely-spaced and in opposite pairs up the stems.
This flower has no scent.
Other Names:
Grass Pink.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Dianthus armeria, commonly known as Deptford Pink, is a species of herbaceous perennial plant in the Caryophyllaceae family. It is native to Europe and Asia and can be found in habitats such as rocky slopes, grasslands, and meadows. The plant has narrow, grass-like leaves and small, fragrant, pink, red, or white flowers that grow in clusters. It typically grows as a low-lying groundcover and is often used as an ornamental plant in rock gardens, wildflower gardens and as a meadow plant. It's not known to have any medicinal use, it's not recommended for any use.


Deptford Pink, scientifically known as Dianthus armeria, is a beautiful wildflower native to Europe and Western Asia. This delicate flower is a member of the family Caryophyllaceae and is commonly found growing in meadows, pastures, and along roadsides. The plant's name comes from its first sighting in Deptford, England, in the seventeenth century.

Deptford Pink is a small, annual plant that grows up to 30 cm in height. The stem is slender and branched, with narrow leaves that are around 1 cm long. The flowers bloom in summer, from June to September, and have a characteristic bright pink color. The flowers are about 2.5 cm in diameter and have five petals that are deeply notched, giving them a frilly appearance. The plant's fruit is a small capsule containing many tiny seeds.

Despite its beauty, Deptford Pink is considered a weed in some areas because it can spread quickly and compete with other plants for resources. However, it is still appreciated for its ornamental value and is often grown in gardens and as a cut flower. The plant is also sometimes used in traditional medicine for its diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Deptford Pink is a hardy plant that prefers well-drained soil and full sun. It can tolerate drought conditions, making it ideal for xeriscaping. The plant is also self-seeding, meaning it can spread easily without the need for human intervention.

Unfortunately, Deptford Pink is becoming increasingly rare in its native habitat due to habitat destruction and urbanization. In some areas, it has been classified as endangered, making conservation efforts critical. One way to help preserve this beautiful wildflower is by cultivating it in gardens and spreading awareness about its importance and threatened status.

Deptford Pink has a rich cultural history, and it has been used in various ways over the years. In the past, the plant was commonly used as a remedy for various ailments, including colds, fevers, and stomach problems. It was also used as a natural dye to color fabric, with the plant's flowers being boiled and the resulting liquid used to create a pink dye.

In folklore, Deptford Pink was associated with love and romance. In some cultures, it was believed that if a person gave a bouquet of Deptford Pink to their love interest, it would lead to a long and happy relationship. In other cultures, the flower was used as a symbol of admiration and friendship.

Today, Deptford Pink is still used in some herbal remedies, particularly as a diuretic and anti-inflammatory. The plant is also sometimes used in perfumes and soaps for its sweet, floral scent. In addition, it is a popular choice for wildflower gardens and can be grown easily from seed.

Deptford Pink has also been the subject of artistic works, including paintings, poems, and songs. In the 19th century, the famous English poet John Clare wrote a poem called "The Deptford Pink," which describes the flower's beauty and charm. The plant has also been depicted in many paintings by artists such as John Robert Thornton and Pierre-Joseph Redouté.

In addition to its cultural and ecological importance, Deptford Pink also has potential for use in scientific research. The plant produces a variety of chemical compounds, including flavonoids and saponins, which have been studied for their potential health benefits. For example, some studies suggest that these compounds may have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties.

Despite its many benefits, Deptford Pink is facing numerous threats, including habitat loss, climate change, and invasive species. It is crucial that we take steps to protect this plant and its habitat, such as supporting conservation efforts and reducing our carbon footprint. By doing so, we can help ensure that future generations can enjoy the beauty and benefits of this remarkable plant.

One interesting fact about Deptford Pink is that it has a unique mechanism of seed dispersal. Unlike many other plants, which rely on wind or animals to spread their seeds, Deptford Pink has an explosive seed capsule. When the capsule is ripe, it splits open suddenly and forcefully, sending the seeds flying several meters away from the parent plant. This helps ensure that the seeds are dispersed over a wide area, increasing the chances of successful germination and growth.

Another fascinating aspect of Deptford Pink is its ability to adapt to different growing conditions. While the plant prefers well-drained soil and full sun, it can also tolerate partial shade and a range of soil types. This flexibility has allowed the plant to thrive in a variety of environments, from meadows and pastures to roadsides and disturbed areas.

Overall, Deptford Pink is a beautiful and versatile plant that has much to offer. From its ornamental value to its medicinal properties and ecological role, it is a true gem of the plant kingdom. By learning more about this plant and taking steps to protect it, we can help ensure that it continues to thrive and enrich our lives for years to come.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

Click to open an Interactive Map