Dianthus amurensis Jacques; D. chinensis var. amurensis (Jacques) Kitagawa; D. chinensis var. dentosus (Fischer ex Reichenbach) Debeaux; D. chinensis f. ignescens (Nakai) Kitagawa; D. chinensis var. ignescens Nakai; D. chinensis var. jingpoensis G. Y. Zhang & X. Y. Yuan; D. chinensis var. liaotungensis Y. C. Chu; D. chinensis var. longisquama Nakai & Kitagawa; D. chinensis var. macrosepalus Franchet ex L. H. Bailey; D. chinensis var. morii (Nakai) Y. C. Chu; D. chinensis var. subulifolius (Kitagawa) Y. C. Ma; D. chinensis var. sylvaticus W. D. J. Koch; D. chinensis var. trinervis D. Q. Lu; D. chinensis subsp. versicolor (Fisher ex Link) Voroschilov; D. chinensis var. versicolor (Fisher ex Link) Y. C. Ma; D. dentosus Fischer ex Reichenbach; D. fischeri Sprengel; D. morii Nakai; D. sequieri Chaix; D. sequieri var. dentosus (Fischer ex Reichenbach) Franchet; D. subulifolius Kitagawa; D. subulifolius f. leucopetalus Kitagawa; D. versicolor Fisher ex Link; D. versicolor f. leucopetalus (Kitagawa) Y. C. Chu; D. versicolor var. subulifolius (Kitagawa) Y. C. Chu.
Herbs perennial, 30--50 cm tall, glabrous. Stems laxly caespitose, erect, distally branched. Leaves linear-lanceolate, 3--5 cm × 2--4 mm, midvein prominent, base slightly narrowed, margin entire or denticulate, apex acuminate. Flowers solitary or several in cymes; pedicel 1--3 cm; bracts 4, ovate, ca. 1/2 as long as calyx, margin membranous, ciliate, apex long acuminate. Calyx cylindric, 1.5--2.5 cm × 0.4--5 mm, striate; teeth lanceolate, ca. 5 mm, margin ciliate, apex sharply pointed. Petals 1.6--1.8 cm; limb bright red, purple-red, pink, or white, obovate-triangular, 1.3--1.5 cm, throat spotted and laxly bearded, apex irregularly toothed. Stamens exserted; anthers blue. Ovary suboblong. Styles linear. Capsule cylindric, surrounded by calyx, apex 4-toothed. Seeds black, compressed globose. Fl. May--Jun, fr. Jul--Sep. 2n = 30*.
Sandy forest margins, forest grasslands, scrub on mountain slopes, hillside grasslands, dry hillsides, sandy hill summits, valleys, rocky ravines, meadows, streamsides, mountain stream wetlands, mountain waterfalls, rocks, steppes, steppe sands, fixed dunes, seashores, also widely cultivated. Native in Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Henan, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, and Xinjiang; naturalized in S China [Kazakhstan, Korea, Mongolia, Russia (Siberia, Far East); Europe].
Dianthus chinensis is a very variable species represented in China by both cultivated and wild plants. In FRPS, the species was divided into eight varieties (treated in synonymy here), all of them occurring as wild plants and var. chinensis also including the cultivated material. No key to the varieties was provided, and the features given in the diagnoses were not always parallel, making it almost impossible to identify any given plant to variety. Moreover, the plants cultivated as ornamentals comprise numerous cultivars. Further research is needed on the species in China and surrounding countries before a satisfactory infraspecific classification can be presented. In the present account, therefore, Dianthus chinensis is treated in the broadest sense.
The species is used medicinally.