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Lily of the Valley




Carnation Flower

January Birth Flower

Carnations are hardy flowers belonging to the pink family (Caryophyllaceae) and are native to the Mediteranian which have been cultivated for over two thousand years. The carnation is a tall flower growing one to three feet high. The carnation plant usually has many lightly smelling sweet blossoms. These flowers have five petals and may have single or double blooms. The petals typically have ragged edges, and carnations have a distinctive slightly spicy smell which some people find very pleasant. Carnations are perennials and may be started from seed or from cuttings. Carnations can live 18-20 months and it is among the oldest flowers to be cultivated and also one of the most popular flowers.

Color Meanings

It is believed that the first carnations are pink and peach in color, cross-breeding has produced many other colors and shades, including white, pink, red and yellow.
The carnation is the birth flower for those born in the month of January. Also known as "Jove's Flower" this Spain's national flower are often worn on Mother's day, Parent's day, Teacher's day or weddings. Carnation has the meaning of admiration, beauty, love, distinction, pride and gratitude. The carnation has many meanings depending on the color it takes. Light red carnations represent admiration, while dark red denote deep love and affection. Yellow carnation conveys a meaning of disappoinment or dejection. White carnations represent pure love, friendship and good luck while striped (variegated) carnations symbolise regret that a love cannot be shared. Purple carnations indicate capriciousness and pink carnation became the symbol of romance or a mother's undying love.
Carnation flowers

History and Etymology

The name of the flower is said to be originated from the word “corone” meaning floral garland. Carnations are also referred to by their scientific name “dianthus”, the word given by Theopharastus, a Greek botanist. The name dianthus comes from two words, “dios” (meaning: god Zeus) and “anthos” (meaning: flower). Botanically called Dianthus caryophyllus, carnations are native to Eurasia and they are known to have been used for the first time by Romans and Greeks in garlands.

Genetic manipulation was used by company around 1996 to extract certain gens from snapdragon and petunia flowers and produce blue-mauve carnations, which was commercialized as moondust. Violet carnation called Moonshadow was commercialized in 1998. As of 2004 three additional purple/blue-violet varieties have been commercialized.

Types of Carnations

The three most common kinds of carnations are annual carnations, perpetual-flowering carnations and border carnations. Carnations can also be broken down into three types: Large flowered (has one flower per stem), Mini Carnation or Spray Carnation (has many small blooms) and Dwarf (several flowers per stem). There are annuals (one growth cycle only in its lifetime), biennials (blooms in second saeson) and perennials (perpetual return each season). There are over 500 varieties of carnation.

Physical Appearance

Carnations form tufts of upright stems with narrow and gray-green leaves. Height: 8 – 12 inches, width: 6 inches approximately. Carnations are bisexual, the flowers are prodused singly or up to 5 together in a cyme and sweetly scented. Single blooms have only five petals but hybridized varieties may have as many as 40 petals. Their ruffled and soft petals are arranged in either a single or overlapping manner with serrated or claw-like edges. The stamens can occur in one/two whorls, in equal number or twice the numbber of the petals. The leaves are stalkless and narrow and they come off of the plant’s long-jointed stem in paralel pairs, the leave's color varies from purple or green to grey-blue. Carnations grow big, full blooms on strong, straight stems.

The flowers can grow in a variety of conditions such as rocky areas, flowerbeds and containers. They can also be grown indoors. When grown in gardens, carnations grow 6 – 9 cm in diameter. The petals are generally clawed or serrated. Hardy in zones 3 through 10, carnations do best with bright but indirect sunlight, minimal water (too much might cause the plant to yellow) and well-drained soil (neutral to slightly alkaline soil). Avoid mulching to allow adequate air circulation. In commercial varieties, the flowers are usually doubled over and fringed. Sometimes the petals are striped or edged with contrasting colors.

Are Carnations Edible

Carnation (also called grenadine, gillyflower or clove pink) is also an edible flower with a spicy odor. The stems can be quite bitter, but the petals are surprisingly sweet. Carnations are often used as an edible cake decoration, they can be also soaked in syrups and wines and eaten as a desert. It can be candied, pickled with spices and usedd fresh in salads. It has been used to spice beer and wine in the past, and as a substitute for the more expensive clove. The petals are also one of the main ingredients in the French liqueur Chartreuse. Essential carnation oil in its absolute form is both expensive and rare.








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