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This description is for Dianthus barbatus: Dianthus barbatus or Sweet William is a very common cottage garden plant. It can grow up to 75cm tall, and each stem grows a cluster of brightly coloured flowers, about 30 flowers in each cluster. The flowers are around 2cm wide and the petals have a wrinkled edge. In the wild the flowers are red and white, but there are colour varieties ranging from pink, to red and white and several variegated varieties. The flowers have a scent similar to cloves. They will bring bees and butterflies to your garden. There are many theories who the William of the common name Sweet William is, ranging from William Shakespeare to William the Conqueror but not one really knows for sure.
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