Pink, the common name for species of di-anthus (Gt. , of Zeus, and , flower), many of which have long been in cultivation as garden flowers. One of the species, D. caryopliyllus, has furnished the name, caryophyllaceae, which botanists give to the pink family. The genus includes annual and perennial herbs, with opposite, narrow, often rigid, grass-like leaves; the flowers with their parts in fives; the long tubular calyx is five-toothed at the apex, and bracted at the base; the five petals have very long slender stalks, or claws, as they are technically called; stamens ten; styles two, the ovary ripening as a one-celled seed vessel, opening at the apex by four valves, and containing numerous seeds, which are flat-tish on the back. The species, of which there are properly about 70, though more than 200 are to be found in the books, mainly belong to the old world. North America can claim but one, D. repens, which is found on the N. W. coast at Kotzebue's sound and in other high latitudes, and is also a native of Siberia. The pinks are generally showy, but the two found growing wild in the Atlantic states are introduced annual weeds (D. Armeria and D. pro-lifer) and of very insignificant appearance.
One of the most popular of the garden species of dianthus, D. barbatus, is rarely called pink, being better known by the name of sweet "William, but is sometimes called bunch pink; it is the poetls pink of the French; it differs from most other species in forming aflat-topped cluster, crowded with variously colored small flowers, having sharply toothed petals; this is a native of Europe, and until within a few years has not held a very high rank, but great improvement has been made in the flowers; a strain called the auricula-flowered is very fine, from the distinct markings of the petals, and some of the double sorts are rich and remain in flower longer than the single. Though a perennial, this is usually treated as a biennial; the seed being sown in spring, the plants flower in the spring following, and as the first crop of bloom is finer than the later ones, it is better to throw out the plants after they have flowered, and provide for a succession by annual sowings. The common pink of country gardens, often seen in large tufts, is D. plumarius, a native of some parts of Europe and naturalized in many others; it is known as garden pink, plumed and pheasant's-eye pink, bunch, cushion, and grass pink, and by other botanical and common names; it is a low, hardy perennial, with small and very glaucous leaves, its flower stems produced early in summer, bearing one to three flowers, which in the single variety are of a pale pink color; their petals are fringed, and it has a strong and very pleasant fragrance; the improved varieties are double pink or double white, and some are marked with a dark eye, and they altogether present considerable variation; this is sometimes planted as an edging to beds, but its foliage is so- dull that it produces an unpleasant effect if used in large quantities.
Some regard this species as the parent of the finer kinds of florists' pinks, but it is very probable that other kinds were concerned in their production, though, as with many florists' flowers long in cultivation, it is difficult to trace them to their original species. The clove pink (D. caryophylitis), so called from the resemblance of its fragrance to that of the well known spice, is found wild in the south of Europe, and is no doubt the original of the finer kinds of pinks; it is perennial, and with its varieties scarcely hardy in our northern states; its stems become almost woody at the base; it has long, linear, and very glaucous leaves, and bears its flowers solitary at the ends of the branches; the scales at the base of the calyx are very short and broad, and the petals merely toothed; in the wild state the flowers are white and purple. This has long been a favorite flower, and cultivation has produced innumerable varieties; in a florist's classification the varieties are divided into pi-cotees, pinks, and carnations, each including white, yellow, and every shade of red, up to dark crimson and scarlet, the distinctions being founded upon the arrangement of the colors.
In the picotee the color making the variegation is only on the edge of the petals, in a broad or narrow band, and if any ramifies toward the centre of the flower it must be connected with that on the edge. Pinks, or florists' pinks, as they are often styled, have the color between the edge and the base of the petal, and in the whole flower it is in concentric circles, technically called the lacing of the flower. In carnations the color is in longitudinal splashes or stripes from the base of the petal to its edge; among carnations flowers showing two colors are called flakes, those in which there are three bizarre s, and when there is but one color the variety is called self-colored. A class known as mule pinks, supposed to be a hybrid between the carnation and sweet William, contains some beautiful varieties which are prized garden flowers. The Chinese pink (D. Ghinensis) is a biennial, but as it flowers the first year from seed it is treated as an annual; it presents a great variety of colors in both single and double flowers, and while very showy is without fragrance.
The pinks introduced within a few years as D. Heddewigii, laciniatus, and diadematus, are only varieties of the Chinese pink, some of them with very large flowers. - The perennial pinks may be raised from seed, the plants flowering the second year; but the established varieties are continued by layering or by cuttings, which are made from the leafy shoots at the base of the old plants. Great numbers of carnations are raised every winter for bouquets and floral decorations; the plants are started from cuttings in spring, and planted in the open ground, all the flower buds being removed as soon as they appear; in October they are potted, to be placed in the greenhouse, but where many are grown they are planted in earth upon the greenhouse benches; for winter blooming, self-colored flowers are preferred, especially pure white and bright carmine. During some winters carnations can be left in the open ground without injury, but it is safer for the amateur to keep them in a cold frame during winter.
Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus).
China Pink (Dianthus Chinensis).