British National Carnation Society

Leading the way with Dianthus

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Page One

Article from
Munenori Hosoya
Article 2
Al Maas from Michigan


'The BNCS also extend special thanks to Dr Alan Leslie, the RHS Registrar in London, for his efforts in translation of the original manuscript into English his efforts are to be applauded and are very much appreciated.'

Pinks in Japan
1. Native Pinks
i Dianthus japonicus Thunb.
The Japanese names are Hama-nadeshiko or Fuji-nadeshiko. “Hama” means “beach” or “coast”, and “Fuji” means the flower colour of Japanese wisteria. The reason is that the plants grow on the beach and have purple-colour petals. “Nadeshiko”, in the broad sense, is the common name in Japan for Dianthus species except for carnations. Dianthus japonicus was initially introduced to Europe in a book, ‘‘Flora Japonica’’ by Carl Peter Thunberg in 1784. Horticultural usage has been restricted to breed new ornamental lines until recent time. Now new breeding programs are in progress by some agricultural experiment stations in Japan, to investigate useful characters such as heat tolerance, severe environment tolerance and rigidity of this species.
ii Dianthus kiusianus Makino
The Japanese name is Hime-hama-nadeshiko. “Hime” means “princess”, “tiny” or “dwarf”. This species has the growing habit in temperate regions ranging from central to southern parts of Japan, especially in Okinawa and Kyusyu islands. The plant form is a miniature type of Hama-nadeshiko.
iii Dianthus superbus L. var. longicalycinus (Maxim.) F.N.Williams
The Japanese name is Kawara-nadeshiko. “Kawara” means “a dry plain along a river”. This species is native in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan, and grows in the field of wilderness and dry river plains. Kawara-nadeshiko is the most popular plants of Pink in Japan, therefore often called only Nadeshiko or Pink in a narrow sense. D. superbus var. superbus, “Ezo-kawaranadesiko” is a standard variant of this species and is grown in low temperature zones. Other variants growing in Japan are var. amoenus Nakai and var. speciosus Reichb. Kawara-nadeshiko is important for breeding program as a source of semi perpetual flowering and long fringed petals.
iv Dianthus shinanensis (Yatabe) Makino
The Japanese name is Shinano-nadeshiko. “Shinano” is the name of a mountainous area located in the central part of Japan. This species is a native of Japan, but has almost no usefulness for current breeding in horticulture. There is a variant called f. alpinus Hid. Takah. ex T.Shimizu.

2 Foreign Pinks
i Dianthus chinensis L
The Japanese name is Sekichiku, the Chinese name is Shízhú. “Sekichiku” means “bamboo made of stone”, named from its resemblance to bamboo leaf and stem as hard as stone. This species made a large contribution to the development of modern carnation varieties, especially in providing the characteristic of perpetual flowering. The Sekichiku, Chinese Pink, was introduced to Japan from old China in the late Heian period of ca. 1000-1100 years ago. Kawara-nadeshiko and Sekichiku have been the most important and popular Pinks in Japan. These two plants were frequently shown in literature, pictures, Japanese poems, craft products, and so on. They were initially introduced to Europe by a book ‘‘Amoenitatum exoticarum politicophysico-medicarum fascicule V’’ of Engelbert Kaempfer in 1712. On p.910 of the book, these plants were described as follows: ‘‘Seki tfiku, vulgo Nadesko & Tokunatsz. caryophyuus hortenfis fimplex, flore majoure.’’. Séki tfiku is Sekichiku, Nadesko is Nadeshiko, Tokunatsz is Tokonatsu in correct Japanese. Though Sekichiku is a different species from the Kawara-nadeshiko, the plant had been classified into a group including Nadeshiko and Tokonatsu since the 1860s. Current bedding Pinks in Japan are binary or ternary hybrid plants of these Pinks and D. plumarius, D. deltoids and D. barbatus. In addition, D. chinensis will be used as important breeding material in the future.
ii Dianthus barbatus L
The Japanese names are Bijo-nadeshiko and Hige-nadeshiko, Amerika-nadesiko. The meanings of Bijyo, Hige and Amerika in Japanese are “pretty woman”, “beard”, and “America” respectively, though the plant is not from the USA. This Pink was introduced to Japan from Holland 1863, at the end of the Edo period. The first Pink species introduced to Japan from abroad was Sekichiku, the second is the old carnation, and the third is this one, D. barbatus. This species is a useful Pink in the Japanese horticulture industry for gardeners, together with Kawara-nadeshiko and Sekichiku.
iii Dianthus deltoides L , Dianthus plumarius L and other Dianthus species
These species and hybrid lines are mainly used for garden flower beds, but are not important Pinks in Japan. The main cultivars in Japan are hybrid lines involving D. chinensis, D.superbus, D. caryophyllus, and D. barbatus, in which the leading species is D. chinensis, whereas D. knappi and D. japonicus are rarely used.

3 Mutated or improved Pinks
i Dianthus chinensis L. var. semperflorens Makino
The Japanese name is Tokonatsu. “Tokonatsu” means “everlasting summer”, indicating a characteristic of the perpetual flowering in three seasons of Japan, namely in spring to early summer, autumn, and in winter showing a slightly reduced flowering. The name, Tokonatsu was described as different type from D. chinensis in the 1800s at the end of the Edo period in Japan, although its detailed history and evidence are not clear at present. This Pink has so many unique characteristics: significantly dwarf (5-15cm in plant height), a creeping or hanging type, abundant flower colours (including selfs and mixed colours with a big eye), petals with deeply serrated margins, single or double flowers that vary from 3-6cm in diameter. Their main use is in flowerbeds for the dwarf types, whereas many varieties are planted in special unique long pots and are used indoors. The most glamorous times for this Pink were the 1860-1940s, when many people wanted to collect the various types of variety as a hobby regardless of their high price. Among enthusiasts, a number of ranking lists of the varieties were published on the basis of uniqueness, plant shape, flower diameter, colour, etc. Unfortunately, it was a transitory boom for about 80 years at that time. Most traditional varieties had been lost after World War II, but newly bred lines have been grown in Japan by crossing with D. barbatus, D. deltoides, D. plumarius, and carnations.

ii Dianthus x isensis Hirahata et Kitam, or Dianthus chinensis L. var. laciniatus Koern.
The Japanese names are Ise-nadeshiko, Matsusaka-nadeshiko and Gosyo-nadeshiko. Each Japanese name reflects an area in which they have been bred or cultivated. Ise and Matsusaka are names of cities located in central Japan. According to legend (Okamura 1931), a unique flower variant of Kawara-nadeshiko was discovered in about 1830s by Eiji Tsugumatsu (1803-1866), who was a Samurai (warrior) of Kisyu-feudal Clan at the end of the Edo period in Japan. He cultivated many horticultural varieties of Kawara-nadeshiko, using a lot of pots in his house garden as a hobby. Some hypotheses on the origin of Matsusaka-nadeshiko have been proposed by several Japanese botanists; one that the plant was bred by natural crossing between Kawara-nadeshiko and Sekichiku and the other that the plant is a variant of Sekichiku (Yoshimura 1956, Tsukamoto 1985).
The plant had unusually long petals in comparison to normal Nadeshiko. So, he worked on the development of new varieties with great fervor. Its most unique characteristic was shown in petals 20-30cm long, with dozens of separate lobes. Unfortunately the current lines of the plant have petals of 10-15c long. Because this kind of plant is susceptible to disease and environmental stresses, long term maintenance of the vegetative propagated plants is difficult, therefore ancestral type of the plants have disappeared at the present time. Propagation and maintenance of the plants are now conducted mainly with seedlings obtained from open pollination. Other remarkable characters of the plants are shown in flexible, slender stems of 40-70cm in height, with yellow-green elongated leaves. The flower has 5-6 narrow petals drooping down with numerous narrow frizzy lobes, in self colours of white, pink, vermilion, light purple, crimson and red, without an eye in the flower centre.

Efforts to preserve Matsusaka-nadeshiko have been made by more than 30 peoples in Matsusaka city of Mie prefecture since 1970, that is organized as ‘‘The Preservation Society of Matsusaka-Sanchinka’’. “Sanchinka” in Japan represents the rare variants of three sorts of plants, Dianthus, Iris and Chrysanthemum, which all share a unique and common characteristic in the petals drooping or facing down. There are records that the plants had been exported to the United States before the Great Kanto Earthquake in Japan 1923, and that a lot of people cultivated them as a hobby up to the 1940s.
Cultivation procedure of the Matsusaka-nadeshiko is as follows. Selected flowers are artificially or open pollinated with the other plants at the flowering time of middle May, and harvested and stored in early summer. Seed sowing is done in early autumn in a nursery box, and thereafter, the seedlings are potted on at the stage of 2-3 leaves, and planting up into 15cm-diameter clay pots is done at the stage of 3 pairs of leaves. Pinching is done leaving three nodes at the stage of 5-6 pair of leaves. Eventually, only 3 sturdy branches are selected, the remaining branches are removed perfectly from the base of the branching point. The plant can’t stand up by itself and needs support-poles for cultivation management. After flower-bud formation, extra buds more than two are removed from the stem, so the flowering plant has maximum 9 flowers per pot. There is the other management of flower in the classical cultivation methods, such as one flower per plant. Assisting petal expansion is the last important procedure of flower management. The petals of these plants can’t open by themselves, so the petals must be opened by hand, using a twig like toothpick. By this operation, the flowers are perfectly elongated and we can appreciate their graceful form.

An article, ‘‘Carnations in Japan’’ is now under preparation to contribute to future publications.


Gratefull thanks to Dr. Yasuo Kowyama for critical reading of the manuscript and for the wonderful photographs he forwarded and which appear in the BNCS 2013 Year Book