Online Encyclopedia

PINK

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 627 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PINK, in botany, the common name corresponding to a genus of Caryophyllacae, the Dianthus of botanists. It is characterized by the presence of simple leaves borne in pairs at the thickened nodes, flowers terminating the axis and having a tubular calyx surrounded by a number of overlapping bracts, a showy corolla of five free long-stalked petals, ten stamens proceeding, together with the petals, from a short stalk supporting the ovary, which latter has two styles and ripens into a cylindric or oblong god-like one-chambered many-seeded capsule which opens at the apex by four cults or valves. The species are herbaceous perennials of low stature, often with very showy flowers. They are natives chiefly of southern Europe and the Mediterranean region, a few being found in temperate Asia and South Africa. Four species are wild in Britain. Of these, D. armeria, Deptford pink and D. deltoides, maiden pink, are generally distributed, D. caesius, Cheddar pink, occurs only on the limestone rocks at Cheddar. Two others, D. plumarius and D. caryophyllus, are more or less naturalized, and are interesting as being the originals of the pinks and of the carnations and picotees of English gardens. Garden pinks are derivatives from Dianthus plumarius, a native of central Europe, with leaves rough at the edges, and with rose-coloured or purplish flowers. The use of " pink " for a colour is taken from the name of the plant .l The pink is a favourite garden flower of hardy constitution. It has been in cultivation in England since 1629, and is a great favourite with florists, those varieties being preferred which i The etymology of " pink " is disputed; it may be connected with " to pink " (apparently a naturalized form of " pick "), properly to prick or punch holes in material for the purpose of ornament, hence, later, to scallop or cut a pattern in the edge of the material. The flower has jagged edges to the petals, but the name occurs in the 16th century, and the later meaning, " to scallop," not till the 19th. Others connect with " pink," half-shut blinking of the eyes, as in " plumpie Bacehus, with pinke eyne" (Shakspeare Ant. and Cl. u. vii. 121); this word is seen ha Dutch pinken, to blink, shut the eyes, and may be connected wir " pinch." The French name for the flower, oeillet, little eye, may point to this derivation. The disease of horses, known as " pink-eye," a contagious influenza, is so-called from the colour of the inflamed conjunctiva, a symptom of the affection have the margin of the petals entire, and which are well marked in the centre with bright crimson or dark purple. Its grassy but glaucous foliage is much like that of the carnation, but the whole plant is smaller and more tufted. Pinks require a free loamy soil deeply trenched, and well enriched with cow-dung. They are readily increased by cuttings (pipings), by layers and by seed. Cuttings and layers should be taken as early in July as practicable. The former should be rooted in a cold frame or in a shady spot out of doors. When rooted, which will be about August, they should be planted 4 in. apart in a nursery bed, where they may remain till the latter part of September or the early part of October. The chief attention required during winter is to press them down firmly should they become lifted by frosts, and in spring the ground should be frequently stirred and kept free from weeds. The pink is raised from seeds, not only to obtain new varieties, but to keep up a race of vigorous-growing sorts. The seeds may be sown in March or April in pots in a warm frame, and the young plants may be pricked off into boxes and sheltered in a cold frame. They should be planted out in the early part of the summer in nursery beds, in which, if they have space, they may remain to flower, or the alternate ones may be transplanted to a blooming bed in September or the early part of October; in either case they will bloom the following summer. These will grow in any good garden soil, but the richer it is the better. The border varieties are useful for forcing during the early spring months. These are propagated from early pipings and grown in nursery beds, being taken up in October, potted in a rich loamy compost, and wintered in a cold pit till required for the forcing house. The following varieties are among the best. For borders and forcing: Ascot, Carnea, Delicata, Derby Day, Her Majesty, Hercules, Anne Boleyn, Lady Blanche, Mrs Sinkins, Mrs James Welsh, Pilrig Park, Rubens, Snowdon, Tom Welsh. Florists' show and laced varieties: Attraction, Beauty of Bath, Clara, Criterion, Ensign, Galopin, Harry Hooper, John Ball, Malcolm Dunn, Mrs D. Gray, Reliance, William Paul. The Carnation (q.v.) and Picotee are modifications of Dianthus Caryophyllus, the Clove Pink. This is a native of Europe, growing on rocks in the south, but in the north usually found on old walls. Its occurrence in England on some of the old Norman castles, as at Rochester, is supposed by Canon Ellacombe to indicate its introduction by the Normans; in any case the plant grows in similar situations in Normandy. The carnation includes those flowers which are streaked or striped lengthwise—the picotees are those in which the petals have a narrow band of colour along the edge, the remainder of the petal being free from stripes or blotches. These by the old writers were called " gillyflowers." The Sweet William of gardens is a product from Dianthus barbatus. The Sea-Pink, or Thrift, Statice Armeria (Armeria vulgaris), is a member of the natural order Plumbagineae; it is a widely distributed plant found on rocky and stony sea-shores and on lofty mountains. There are many improved varieties of it now in cultivation, one with almost pure white flowers.
End of Article: PINK
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