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Sooty dianthus seedsDianthus nigrescens
Sooty Black Dianthus
This plant is also known as sweet william, and in the language of flowers, it stands for gallantry as well as treachery. This contradiction comes from the historical roots of the common name. Sweet William was named for William, Duke ("Butcher") of Cumberland, who led the English army that defeated the Jacobite uprising in 1746. For this reason, and not because of its smell, in Scotland this flower is known as Stinking Willy. I was surprised to find out that a plant's common name could have come about so recently and be so obviously ideological. I've referred to this plant as dianthus ("heavenly flower"), another of its names, in order to avoid that, but this dual nature also makes this plant a good candidate for Mercury. It's fitting, then, that its flower essence is associated with learning, a Mercury activity. Dianthus flower essence helps bring back knowledge of spiritual mastery for those who seek it and is also a precise (focused) and powerful cleanser for the house. The flowers are interesting in pot pourris (check out the Dream Potpourri) because they get darker as they dry. Regular dianthus is a favorite for love magick; because of the Mercury connection, black dianthus would be great for lesbian/gay love. The Victorians, always open to goth sensibilities, especially loved this variety of dianthus. The flowers smell like carnations, which is logical, since this plant is a type of wild carnation. Swallowtail butterflies like this plant. This is a great plant, even if you reject monarchy entirely. This variety has dark-smudged leaves as well as dark flowers. Top

How to grow black dianthus: Barely cover seeds to germinate in 10 days at 70F/21C. Transplant to full sun and well drained soil (no standing water) 1ft/30cm apart. Flowers are dark blood red and 2"/5cm wide on stalks 24in/60cm tall. They will flower the following summer, although if you are lucky, they will flower the same year. They last 10 days as a cut flower. The plants will winter over throughout most of the United States (zones 4-10). General growing info. Top

Sweet Dreams Potpourri

2 cups rose petals
1 cup
jasmine flowers
1 cup
lavender flowers
1 cup dianthus flowers
1 cup
orris root pieces

Spice up with Moon oils like camphor or clary sage. Top

The Catholic Jacobites were based primarily in the Scottish Highlands and supported the Stuart dynasty (Bonnie Prince Charlie). For them, the monarchy was not dependent upon the decisions of parliament but ruled due to divine right, an older idea that was losing ground. They were defeated by the Protestants, who made wearing tartans and kilts a capital offense and basically destroyed Highland culture. Top


Dianthus nigrescens
Sooty Black Dianthus
80 seeds $4.00

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Honoring Gay Love
Acquiring Magical Skills
Mercury Herb

Black Flowers Collection
(Other black flowers)

2006, 2017 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission