Dianthus Superbus - White


Joined June 2012

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Artist's Description

Digital Colour/Color Painting by J. McCombie.
Dianthus superbus (Large Pink) is a species of Dianthus native to Europe and northern Asia, from northernmost Spain and France north to arctic Norway, and east to Japan; in the south of its range, it occurs at high altitudes, up to 2,400 m.
It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 32 inches tall. The leaves are green to greyish green, slender, up to 3 inches long. The flowers are sweetly scented, 1-2 inches in diameter, with five deeply cut fringed petals, pink to lavender with a greenish base; they are produced in branched clusters at the top of the stems from early to late summer.
D. superbus is a popular garden plant and several cultivars and hybrids have been selected, with flower colour varying from white to red or purple, usually with a green centre. It thrives in ordinary to dry soil in full sun; partial shade is preferred in hot climates. It is self-sowing and can be propagated by seed, by division of the roots, layering of the stems or cuttings from growing shoots. Deadheading (removing spent blossoms so that seed heads can not form) extends the blooming period. The flowers sit atop stems approximately 10-18 inches tall, while the gray-green linear leaves form a mat at the base of the plant 8-12 inches wide. Because D. superbus is low to the ground, those who want to enjoy its fragrance find planting it in groups desirable.
The leaves are edible when young, and can be eaten when boiled. The flowers contain sweet nectar, and the foliage can be eaten or boiled to make a drink. The plant contains toxic saponins, but not enough to be harmful. It has historically been used in Chinese herbology as a contraceptive, diuretic, and anti-infective; its Chinese name is qu mai.

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