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Cheddar Pink

Dianthus gratianopolitanus

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.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Caryophyllaceae (Pink)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
20 centimetres tall
Cliffs, gardens, grassland, meadows, rocky places.

Pink, 5 petals
Pink solitary flowers with petals hairy at their bases. Flowers are up to 3cm in diameter. The petals are saw-toothed at their ends. Pollinated by bees, butterflies and moths.
A many-seeded capsule. The seeds ripen from July to August.
A greyish-green, mat-forming perennial flower with narrow and slender, rough-edged leaves. The leaves appear together in opposite pairs up the stems. In the British Isles, this species can be found on the limestone cliffs around Cheddar Gorge in Somerset.
Clove-scented flowers.
Other Names:
Clove Pink.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Dianthus gratianopolitanus, commonly known as Cheddar Pink or Clove 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, pink or purple 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.


Cheddar Pink, scientifically known as Dianthus gratianopolitanus, is a beautiful and delicate flowering plant that belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family. Native to Europe and Asia, this plant is known for its stunning pink flowers and attractive foliage.

The plant is named after the Cheddar Gorge in England, where it was first discovered. The Cheddar Pink is a low-growing perennial that reaches a height of 15 to 20 centimeters. It has blue-green leaves that grow in clumps at the base of the stem. The leaves are narrow and lance-shaped, with a slightly hairy texture.

The flowers of the Cheddar Pink are what make it a popular garden plant. The flowers are produced in small clusters on top of the stem, and they bloom in early summer. Each flower is a beautiful shade of pink, with a bright magenta center. The petals are deeply notched and have a slightly fringed edge, giving the flower a delicate, lacy appearance.

In addition to its attractive appearance, the Cheddar Pink is also a popular plant for its fragrance. The flowers emit a sweet, spicy scent that is often described as similar to cloves. This fragrance is most noticeable in the early morning and late afternoon, and it attracts a variety of pollinators, including bees and butterflies.

The Cheddar Pink is a hardy plant that is easy to grow and care for. It prefers well-drained soil and full sun or partial shade. It is tolerant of drought and can thrive in a range of soil types, including sandy and rocky soils. It can also be grown in pots or containers, making it a versatile plant for any garden.

To propagate the Cheddar Pink, simply divide the clumps of the plant in the spring or fall. This plant can also be grown from seed, but it may take several years for the plant to bloom.

The Cheddar Pink is not only a beautiful plant, but it also has a rich history and cultural significance. In medieval times, the Cheddar Pink was used for medicinal purposes, such as treating digestive problems and relieving toothache. It was also used as a flavoring in cooking and was often added to wine to give it a spicy aroma.

In the modern era, the Cheddar Pink has become a popular garden plant, and many cultivars have been developed. Some of the most popular cultivars include 'Bath's Pink', 'Firewitch', and 'Tiny Rubies'. These cultivars vary in color and growth habit, but they all retain the same delicate beauty and fragrance of the original plant.

One of the unique features of the Cheddar Pink is its ability to grow in rock gardens and other challenging locations. This makes it a popular choice for gardeners who want to add a splash of color to difficult areas of their yard. It can also be used as a groundcover or as a border plant in a flower bed.

The Cheddar Pink has also been the subject of many poems and songs over the years. In fact, the plant is mentioned in William Wordsworth's poem "The Celandine and the Cheddar Pink". The plant's delicate beauty and sweet fragrance have inspired artists and poets for centuries, making it a true cultural icon.

The Cheddar Pink is not only a popular garden plant, but it also has ecological significance. It is an important nectar source for bees and butterflies, which play a crucial role in pollination and the health of ecosystems. By planting Cheddar Pinks in your garden, you can help support local pollinators and promote biodiversity in your area.

Another interesting fact about the Cheddar Pink is that it is the official flower of the county of Somerset in England. This designation was made in 2004, and the Cheddar Pink was chosen because it is native to the region and has a strong cultural and historical connection to the area.

If you are interested in growing Cheddar Pinks in your garden, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, make sure to plant them in well-drained soil and provide them with plenty of sunlight. They also prefer a slightly alkaline soil pH, so you may need to amend your soil if it is too acidic.

In terms of maintenance, Cheddar Pinks are relatively low-maintenance plants. They do not require frequent watering, and they are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, you should remove any dead flowers or foliage to promote healthy growth and prevent the spread of disease.

In conclusion, the Cheddar Pink is a versatile and beautiful plant that is popular among gardeners, poets, and ecologists alike. Its delicate pink flowers and sweet fragrance make it a great addition to any garden, and its cultural and historical significance adds to its appeal. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, the Cheddar Pink is a great choice for any garden.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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