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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 6 | Caryophyllaceae

25. Dianthus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 409. 1753.

石竹属 shi zhu shu

Lu Dequan; Nicholas J. Turland

Dianthus chinensis

Credit: Tatyana Shulkina

Herbs perennial, rarely annual. Roots sometimes woody. Stems mostly caespitose, terete or angular, articulated, dilated at nodes. Leaves opposite, usually glaucescent, linear or lanceolate, veins parallel, base slightly connate, margin scabrid. Flowers solitary, several in a loose cyme, or numerous and clustered into capitula, subtended by 1--4 pairs of appressed bracts. Calyx cylindric, apically 5-toothed, veins 7, 9, or 11, without scarious commissures. Petals 5, purple, red, pink, or white; claw long; limb dentate or lacerate, rarely entire. Stamens 10. Ovary 1-loculed; ovules numerous. Gynophore long. Styles 2. Capsule cylindric, suboblong, or rarely ovoid, dehiscing by 4 teeth or valves. Seeds dorsiventrally compressed, orbicular or discoid, flat or concave; embryo erect; albumen eccentric.

About 600 species: widespread in N temperate regions, mostly in Asia and Europe and especially in the Mediterranean region, a few species in Africa and America; 16 species (two endemic) in China.

Dianthus harrissii K. H. Rechinger (Pl. Syst. Evol. 142: 240. 1983), described from N Pakistan (Chitral), was recorded by Rechinger (Fl. Iran. 163: 143. 1988) from W Xizang and Kashmir. The specimens cited by Rechinger have not been seen by the present authors, and the species is therefore not described here.

The following species have not yet been recorded for China but might be expected to occur in SW Xinjiang and/or W Xizang: Dianthus angulatus Royle (Ill. Bot. Himal. Mts. 1: 79. 1835), from Afghanistan, India, and Pakistan, including the W Himalayas; D. cachemiricus Edgeworth (in J. D. Hooker, Fl. Brit. India 1: 214. 1874), from E Afghanistan, Kashmir, and N Pakistan; and D. crinitus Smith (Trans. Linn. Soc. London, Bot. 2: 300. 1794), from C and SW Asia, as far E as Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Pakistan.

Dianthus foliosus Turczaninow (Bull. Soc. Imp. Naturalistes Moscou 5: 184. 1832) was described from territory probably now within China (“Habitat in saxosis Mongoliae chinensis”), and D. seisuimontanus Masamune (Trans. Nat. Hist. Soc. Taiwan 31: 343. 1941) was described from Taiwan (“Mt. Seisui,” ca. 2000 m). However, the types have not been seen by the present authors and their identities could not be ascertained.

Several species are cultivated in China for their attractive flowers, including Dianthus barbatus, D. caryophyllus Linnaeus (including D. arbuscula Lindley), D. chinensis, and D. japonicus Thunberg.

1 Flowers numerous, clustered into capitula, very shortly pedicellate or subsessile   1 D. barbatus var. asiaticus
+ Flowers solitary or several in a loose cyme, long pedicellate.   (2)
2 (1) Petal limb margin distally lobed to irregularly toothed.   (3)
+ Petal limb margin distally fimbriate to deeply fimbriate.   (8)
3 (2) Leaves linear-lanceolate, 2--4 mm wide; bracts more than 1/2 as long as calyx.   (4)
+ Leaves linear or subulate, 1--2(--3) mm wide; bracts 1/3--1/2 as long as calyx.   (5)
4 (3) Stems densely caespitose; bracts 2(or 4); calyx 1.2--1.4 cm   2 D. repens
+ Stems loosely caespitose; bracts 4; calyx 1.5--2.5 cm   3 D. chinensis
5 (3) Petals white; calyx tube ca. 3 mm in diam.; bracts elliptic, ca. 1/3 as long as calyx   7 D. ramosissimus
+ Petals purple, light purple-red, pink, or rose; calyx tube 4--7 mm in diam.; bracts ovate or obovate, ca. 1/2 as long as calyx.   (6)
6 (5) Plants 5--15 cm tall   4 D. semenovii
+ Plants 20--50 cm tall.   (7)
7 (6) Calyx not inflated near middle, ca. 4 mm in diam.; bracts obovate, apex subulate with short, sharp tip; leaves 1--2 mm wide   5 D. turkestanicus
+ Calyx slightly inflated near middle, 5--7 mm in diam.; bracts ovate, apex long acuminate with caudate tip; leaves 2--3 mm wide   6 D. elatus
8 (2) Plants more than 30 cm tall; leaves linear-lanceolate or lanceolate.   (9)
+ Plants less than 30 cm tall; leaves linear or acicular.   (11)
9 (8) Bracts broadly ovate, 1/4--1/3 as long as calyx; calyx 2.3--2.5 cm; capsule longer than calyx   16 D. hoeltzeri
+ Bracts ovate or obovate, 1/5--1/4 as long as calyx; calyx 2.5--4 cm; capsule shorter to slightly longer than calyx.   (10)
10 (9) Bracts in 2 or 3 pairs, obovate, ca. 1/4 as long as calyx, apex subulate or long acuminate; calyx usually reddish purple, 2.5--3 cm; capsule equaling or slightly longer than calyx   14 D. superbus
+ Bracts in 3 or 4 pairs, ovate, ca. 1/5 as long as calyx, apex mucronate; calyx green, 3--4 cm; capsule shorter than calyx   15 D. longicalyx
11 (8) Plants to 15 cm tall; calyx ca. 1.8 cm (Taiwan)   13 D. pygmaeus
+ Plants (10--)15--30(--40) cm tall; calyx (1.5--)2--3.5 cm.   (12)
12 (11) Petals dark red, yellow-brown, or pink.   (13)
+ Petals white, rarely pale rose or claw pink.   (14)
13 (12) Petals dark red or yellow-brown; bracts in 2 pairs, oblong-elliptic, 1/5--1/4 as long as calyx   10 D. soongoricus
+ Petals pink; bracts in 3 or 4 pairs, ovate, 1/4--1/3 as long as calyx   11 D. orientalis
14 (12) Petal limb fimbriate for less than 1/4 its length (Taiwan)   12 D. palinensis
+ Petal limb fimbriate for at least 1/3 its length (Xinjiang).   (15)
15 (14) Petal limb adaxially hairy, fimbriate for ca. 1/3 its length; bracts 1/4--1/3 as long as calyx; leaves acicular, basal ones densely fascicled   8 D. acicularis
+ Petal limb glabrous, fimbriate for ca. 1/2 its length; bracts 1/3--1/2 as long as calyx; leaves linear, basal ones not densely fascicled   9 D. kuschakewiczii

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