Dianthus barbatus L.

Sweet William

Dianthus barbatus plant

Family - Carypohyllaceae

Stems - To .75m tall, glabrous, herbaceous, typically simple but sometimes branching above, 4-angled (the angles rounded).

Dianthus barbatus stem

Leaves - Opposite, lanceolate, elliptic or oblong, to 8cm long, 2cm broad, glabrous, sessile to short-petiolate, entire or minutely ciliate.

Inflorescence - Terminal cyme of 5-30 flowers, dense.

Flowers - Petals 5, clawed, variously colored, fringed. Stamens 10, included to slightly exserted. Styles 2. Calyx tubular, striate, to 1cm long. Fruit a capsule, many seeded, +/-1cm long.

Dianthus barbatus flower

Dianthus barbatus calyxCalyx.

Flowering - June - August.

Habitat - Cultivated and rarely escaped.

Origin - Native to Eurasia.

Other info. - Dianthus barbatus is the most common species of the genus cultivated in this state. The plant has many varieties, mostly differentiated by flower color, but also size.
The typical flower color is whitish with some red spotting. Double flowered plants are common. This species is also crossed with other species for horticultural hybrids. The plant grows readily from seed.

Photographs taken off the MKT Trail, Columbia, MO., 5-17-04.