Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Dianthus japonicus Thunb. ex A.Murray

Hardy, glabrous, variable perennial with white to red flowers, the edges of the petals fimbriated.  To 45cm.  [Hortus].

Horticultural & Botanical History

Introduced to Britain in 1804.  [JD].  ‘Rohrbach sinks in this species [Dianthus barbatus L.] Thunberg’s D. japonicus (see no. 28); but D. barbatus differs from it in the following points:- Stems 4-angular, and sometimes branched above; leaves lanceolate, plane, and not contorted at the base, 5-nerved; sheath of the radical leaves twice as long as broad; fascicles fastigiate; flowers of a darker red, denser, and consequently on shorter pedicels; bracts very scarious, lanceolate, as long as the calyx; calyx contracted at the base of the purple teeth ; petals broader, obovate-cuneate; and capsule oblong, so that they seem as different as any two pinks can well be.  An experiment of Darwin’s further illustrates the distinction.  In his investigations into the power of mutual cross-fertilization of the commoner pinks, he found that if the flower of D. barbatus were fertilized by the pollen of D. superbus it yielded a proportional 81 seeds, when fertilized by the pollen of D. japonicus a proportional 66 seeds, relatively to the 100 seeds produced by its own pollen.’  [Journal of the Linnean Society vol.29, p.382/1893].  Figured in Thunberg’s Flora Japonica.  [Flora Japonica t.23/1784].  FS t.1172.

History at Camden Park

Seed order to Hurst and McMullen, Seedsmen and Florists of London, on 8th April 1846.  [MP A2933-1, p.132].


Published Sep 18, 2009 - 05:26 PM | Last updated Jul 16, 2010 - 02:18 PM

The line drawing shows stem, leaves and flower umbel.  Flora Japonica t.23, 1784.

Dianthus japonicus Thunb. ex A.Murray | Flora Japonica t.23/1784 | BHL

Family Caryophyllaceae
Region of origin

China and Japan

Common Name
Name in the Camden Park Record

Dianthus japonicus (scarlet) 

Confidence level high