Perennial herb with slender rhizomes 10 - 40 cm tall Stem: upright, sometimes hairy. Flowers: one to a few, long-stalked, reddish purple to white, sharply toothed at the apex. Stalk 1 - 4 cm long. Stamens ten. Styles two. Sepals: five, forming a cylindrical tube (calyx), subtended by slender, pointed bracts. Calyx 1 - 2 cm long, five-lobed, 30- to 40-veined. Petals: five, reddish purple to white, 0.5 - 1 cm long, 1.5 - 2 cm wide, clawed, sharply toothed at the apex. Fruit: a dehiscent capsule (opening by four teeth), equaling the calyx tube. Seeds numerous, blackish brown, shield-shaped. Basal leaves: 1.5 - 3 cm long, 1.5 - 3 mm wide, reverse lance-shaped with a pointed tip. Stem leaves: opposite, lax, five to ten pairs, 2 - 4 cm long, narrowly lance-shaped with a pointed tip.
Similar species: Dianthus plumarius is similar but its leaves are stiff, its petals are fringed, and its flowers are clove-scented.
Flowering: late June to mid-July
Habitat and ecology: Introduced from Europe. A rare escape from cultivation. Has been found in a meadow, lawn, and woodland opening.
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. Deltoides means triangular.
Perennial, 1-4 dm from slender rhizomes, glabrous or hispidulous; basal lvs oblanceolate, acute, 1.5-3 cm נ1.5-3 mm; cauline lvs 5-10 pairs, lance-linear, acute, 2-4 cm; fls scattered on pedicels 1-4 cm; cal 12-18 mm, 30-40-nerved; pet-blade red-purple, lavender, or white, 5-10 mm, toothed around the end; fr equaling the cal; 2n=30. Native of Europe, occasionally escaped from cult. mainly in the n. part of our range. May-Aug.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.