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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Saturday - October 03, 2015

From: Birmingham, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Herbs/Forbs
Title: What are the Native Dianthus?
Answered by: Anne Van Nest

QUESTION:

What species of Dianthus is native to North America?

ANSWER:

According to Wikipedia, there are about 300 species of Dianthus. The vast majority are native to Europe and Asia. One species (Dianthus repens with the common name of Boreal Carnation) is native to the arctic region (Alaska and Yukon) of North America.

Here's what they say about the plant: Dianthus repens is a perennial herb with many stems clumped together, sometimes erect but other times forming a mat pressed against the ground. Stems are hairless (except in some Chinese populations), up to 25 cm long. Leaves are linear or narrowly lanceolate, up to 5 cm long. Flowers are usually solitary but sometimes in clumps of 2-4, with pink to purple petals.

The USDA also has some brief information and a map of the native growing range for Dianthus repens on their Natural Resources Conservation Service webpage.

 

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