Dianthus chinensis

Dianthus Chinensis & its cultivars.

The China or Rainbow Pinks are in Family Caryophyllaceae.
They, and their numerous cultivars are perennial herbs that are widely cultivated.

Most are dense, clumping plants with branching stems.
They form mounds from 20 to 60 cm high and up to 40 cm wide.
The opposite, linear to lance-shaped leaves are up to 5 cm long.
They are green or a waxy coating may make them a grey-green.

Inflorescences are a single flower or a few that are terminal on the main or side branches.
When in bloom all stems will have a bud or flower.
Flowers, on a stalk up to 3 cm long are up to 2.5 cm across.
The 4 bracts under each flower are half the length of the calyx and have pointed tips and hairs.
The bases of the 5 sepals are fused into a tubular calyx around 2 cm long with the lobes only a few mms long.

Species flowers have 5 petals but the semi-double or double cultivars have many.
The petals have a narrow claw and an obovate limb with a few hairs at the base of the inner surface.
They are bright red or white with an irregularly toothed or fringed edge.
Cultivars often have a darker centre, bands or other marking and come in white and many shades of red, pink
    and mauve and there are bicolours.
One plant can have flowers of different colours from when they open (they also change or fade with age).

The stamens extend just past the petals and have blue anthers (as do some other species).
The ovary is on a 3 mm long gynophore surrounded by the nectaries.
Formed from 2 fused carpels the ovary has a single locule with free axile placentation of the numerous ovules.
The 2 styles and stigmas are separate.
The fruit are capsules with 4 valves and are surrounded by the calyx.

The species plants occur over a wide range and their appearance is variable across it.
These differences are sometimes treated as separate varieties.
D. chinensis has been hybridised with D. barbatus and D. caryophyllus.