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Caryophyllaceae Juss., 1789, nom. cons.
the carnation family
The name is derived from the Greek καρυον (karyon), a walnut, and φυλλον (phyllon), a leaf, which refers to the aromatic scent. The term Caryophyllus was applied by early botanists to the clove, formerly Caryophyllus aromatica, and now Syzygium aromatica, then later, through the similarity of the scent, to the clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus). Members of the Caryophyllaceae are usually short annual or perennial herbs, usually with swollen leaf joints, easily broken, simple undivided leaves with no stipules, a calyx with 5 lobes, and flowers with 4 or 5 petals, coloured white, pink, or red, rarely yellow, but never blue.
Dianthus barbatus - Sweet William
Photograph © Aftabbanoori, via Wikipedia Commons
Page last updated 8th October 2014