Originally posted on Friends of Brookmill Park Facebook on 9 May at 09:06.

The Deptford Pink is a very rare native wild flower. It can only be found in a few places (perhaps about 20) in England and Wales.  It is little known except by the conservation botanists who are trying to prevent it becoming extinct in Britain.  It has been vulnerable to the loss of traditional grassland and farming habitats and is on the ‘Red List of endangered species.

The Deptford Pink was named by a 17th century naturalist, Thomas Johnson, who described a pink flower growing in Deptford in East London. It is highly likely that he was mistaken, however, and was actually describing its cousin (the Maiden Pink), and that the Deptford Pink had never actually grown in the area. About five years ago, some members of The Friends of Brookmill Park set out to remedy Thomas Johnson’s mistake in 1633, and to bring the Deptford Pink to Deptford for the first time.

Our Deptford Pink Project began. We consulted some national experts and acquired a few rare plants and seeds from them. Some plants were planted directly in the environs of the Park and a number of the Friends also germinated seeds at home, to provide additional small plants for the ongoing project. So far, we have succeeded in having Deptford Pinks flowering somewhere in the Park, for each of the last five years.

It has sometimes been a struggle, because the Deptford Pinks do not like being crowded out by other plants, and there have also been periods of extreme drought. Nevertheless, we are optimistic that there will be a discreet flowering of the very rare Deptford Pinks in Brookmill Park, in the summer of 2023. We’ll keep you posted.

Friends of Brookmill Park.


The Deptford Pink

Scientific name: Dianthus armeria.
The Deptford Pink prefers light, sandy, acidic soils and requires open conditions to grow well.
It is an annual or biennial.
It can be found on disturbed ground, such as tracks and field edges, along hedgerows, and in dry pasture.
It has a long flower stalk and deep pink petals that have delicate, pale spots and ragged edges.
It has a rosette of green leaves at its base. It flowers on wiry stems. Height 25cm.

Further Reading