Jan. 6, 2020

sweet William, Dianthus barbatus

What is a wild flower, anyway? Bearberry? Or heal all, or honeysuckle, or Juneberry? All those natives are in this shot. But sweet William? Don't we all know that one from our gardens? We were on top of Mt. Brockway that day, looking for one of Michigan's rarest plants, Keweenaw rockrose, and there was sweet William. A whole bouquet of it, along with other obvious garden flowers. Clearly, someone had once had a garden there, in what was once a less wild version of the park. Perhaps a measure of wildness is how often a species shows up or persists when it wasn't planted. Sweet William has been reported from AK, AL, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY, AB, BC, MB, NB, NS, ON, QC, and SK. On the other hand, the first two wildflower guides I pulled off the shelf do not include sweet William. Keweenaw Co MI, 7/9/11. Pink family, Caryophyllaceae.