E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Dianthus barbatus L.
sweet William (sweetwilliam)
Caryophyllaceae (Pink family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #25633)

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Distribution of Dianthus barbatus
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Dianthus barbatus ssp. barbatus

Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stems 1 or more, erect to decumbent, glabrous, 30-60 cm tall/long.
Basal leaves several, oblong-lanceolate, 7-9 cm long, 1-2 cm wide, glabrous; stem leaves opposite, 4-10 pairs, becoming lanceolate and only slightly reduced above, mostly 4-9 cm long, broadly short-stalked, the base sheathing; stipules lacking.
Inflorescence of 3-30 flowers in densely crowded clusters; petals 5, white to more usually pink or red, with narrow claws about equalling the calyces, the blade more or less egg-shaped, 6-10 mm long, wavy-toothed; sepals 5, green below and often violet above, united, forming a glabrous tube about 15 mm long, about 40-nerved.
Capsules oblong, 9-13 mm long, 4-valved; seeds compressed, concave on one side.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry waste places in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; rare in S BC; introduced from Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Dianthus barbatus subsp. barbatus

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References