- Family: Pink Family – Caryophyllaceae
- Growing form: Perennial herb. Quite densely tufted.
- Height: 10–20 cm (4–8 in.). Stem erect–ascending, branchless–sparsely branched, glabrous.
- Flower: Corolla regular (actinomorphic), white, approx. 3 cm (1.2 in.) broad; petals 5, narrow-lobed. Calyx fused, tubular, slightly becoming narrower towards top, 5-lobed, with epicalyx, often violet. Stamens usually 10. Pistil of 2 fused carpels, styles 2. Flowers 1–5. Flowers fragrant.
- Leaves: Opposite, stalkless, united at base. Blade linear, almost needle-like, with entire margins, parallel-veined, greyish green.
- Fruit: 4-valved capsule.
- Habitat: Sandy moors, ridges, weathered rocky ridges.
- Flowering time: June–August.
- Endangerment: Endangered, protected in all of Finland, except the Åland Islands.
Flowering sand pink is an eye-catchingly beautiful sight. The flowers’ beautiful fragrance is at its strongest around Midsummer, when the stands are especially fragrant in the mornings and evenings. The plant probably tempts night butterflies in the twilight to pollinate it, as can also be seen from its pale colour.
The sand pink that grows in Finland has been observed to belong to an eastern subspecies (ssp. borussicus). It probably spread to Finland along ridges during the warm period that followed the Ice Age and has been significantly more common before the forest grew. Sand pink is a poor competitor, preferring almost bare river banks and rapakivi granite. Nowadays the species perseveres here and there in suitable places, but it is one of Finland’s rarer ridge plants.
Despite funding, excavations for gravel and other environmental changes still threaten this rare plant. Sand pink has however also exploited human activity by colonizing new habitats alongside paths, forest roads and highways. In places it has been successfully transplanted from road-building sites to nearby banks. Sand pink is a valued addition to any rockery – but it is recommended to buy seeds and young plants from a garden centre and leave wild plants to grow in peace.
Name also: Feathered Pink, Garden Pink, Wild Pink
In inhabited areas common pink whose leaf blades are more shallowly lobed than sand pink’s, can also escape from flower beds into the wild. Large pink (D. superbus) is bigger, has softer leaves, and is more loosely tufted than sand pink or common pink, and its flowers are pale purple. It grows on river banks and flood-influenced meadows in northern Finland.