Deptford pink Dianthus armeria

Status Red - Endangered & Critically Endangered
Best Time to See
Colour Purple
Habitat Grassland

A stunning pink flower and a wild relative of the popular garden plant Sweet William.

The leaves are hairy, dark green and slender. The bright reddish-pink flowers have five petals and are produced in small clusters at the top of the stems from early to late summer.

Distribution

Once common, it has been lost from many sites. Losses continue and it currently occupies only 7% of its total historic area, with many of these populations being very small. Deptford pink is now extinct in Scotland and is not found in Northern Ireland.

Habitat

It usually grows in open sites such as in pastures, roadsides, field margins and, occasionally, on waste ground.

Key threats

Conversion of traditional pasture to arable fields or forestry; and building on former pastureland.

What we’re doing about it

Plantlife has been working at a number of sites in England and Wales to restore populations of this plant. Work can involve clearing scrub (e.g. brambles), introducing grazing and disturbing the soil on sites during winter to encourage germination of new seedlings.

Did you know?

Ironically, Deptford in East London is the one place where the Deptford pink may never have grown! The common name was the result of a mis-identification by the botanist Thomas Johnson, who 'discovered' the similar Maiden Pink in Deptford in 1633.

The blooms close up in the afternoon.

An alternative name is Grass pink.