Dianthus Genus Report

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Dianthus The word Dianthus comes from the Greek word dios meaning “divine” and anthos meaning “flower.” The Greek botanist Theophrastus named Dianthus. Legend has it that Theophrastus references Dianthus as being the divine flower, because of the Greek goddess of the wilderness, Artemis. The story goes that Artemis was hunting when a shepherd playing an instrument frightened her. In a fit of anger, Artemis tore out the shepherd’s eyes. Her anger stopped short and she soon felt bad. Her remorse resulted in beautiful flowers, supposedly Dianthus, that bloomed in the place of the man’s lost eyes. The Dianthus genus has also been linked to Christianity as a symbol of the “incarnation” of Christ from God. Two contradictory symbologies also denote the flower as representing virginity as well as fertility. The popularity of the flower is shown through it’s elaborate history as well as its wide spread usage in the professional and personal horticulture world. There are many species of the genus Dianthus commonly known as the Pinks. The genus Dianthus is part of the family Caryophyllaceae. This family is made up of some 86 genera and 2,200 species of herbaceous annual and perennial plants. A common trait of most caryophyllaceae is to have swollen leaf and stem joints. There are usually 5 or 10 stamens with an ovary that forms above. The leaves are almost always opposite and rarely whorled. The stipules are not sheath forming. Many species are grown as ornamental plants while other species are widespread weeds. Most species grow in the Mediterranean and bordering regions of Europe and Asia as they do well in temperate regions. The number of genera and species in the southern hemisphere is rather small. Members of the family include Stellaria, Cerastium, Arenaria, Silene, Lychnis, Gypsophila and Saponaria. The most horticulturally valued member, however, would have to be

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