Don't you ever wonder what's so special about a carnation? They can be given as a bouquet, as a filler, or just a single stem. They come in a mix of colours and you can find them in most flower shops. They are considered a cheaper alternative to other flowers but their beauty is unavoidable. From their ruffled exterior to their vibrant colours, carnations can be delightful and stunning once decorated and designed into bouquets and arrangements.
There are over 300 variations of carnations all around the world however they're mainly produced in Columbia, Isreal, and Spain. What's wonderful about carnations is that they can live longer than a year (perennial) but these flowers require a minimum of 4 hours of sunlight with well-drained soil making them great natural flowers in Greece, Italy, Spain, and other Mediterranean countries.
There are many carnation colours available. Mainly due to our interactions, we've engineered many variations of whites, yellows, oranges, reds, greens, and even blues! It's possible to change the colours at home as long as you have food colouring and white carnations. Just snip the bottom, add the colour you like, and wait 24 hours.
The Heavenly Flower
Carnations have a deep history, especially in Greek literature written over 2000 years ago. They're given unique and divine names like "The Heavenly Flower" or "Flower of Gods".
In Greece, the Dianthus caryophyllus (Carnation) is broken down to "Dios" meaning divine and "Anthos" meaning flower. The purpose of carnations back in ancient Greece would be their use as garlands, wreaths, and crowns. Many coronations (crowning) were done with carnations. It was believed to be God creating the carnation's whitish colour as flesh in the form of Jesus.
Legend also speaks of Diana the Goddess, being infatuated with a Sheppard boy who denied her love. Diana being angered by this ripped apart the boy's eyes and threw them onto the ground where they sprouted carnations.
Carnations have many meanings and symbolism
Similar to the story of Diana the Goddess, The Virgin Mary from Christian lore was believed to have wept as she watched Jesus carried the cross. Her tears landed and sprouted carnations, symbolizing motherly love.
In a more generalized relationship, carnations' colour and purpose hold their own meaning.
symbolizes purity and luck
you'll see carnations at weddings
They can also mean prosperous life to elders or to someone starting something new in life.
in the Netherlands, these are worn to remember WWII veterans and their country's resistance
symbolize love, admiration, affection, and passion.
some countries wear red carnations on May Day to symbolize socialism and the labour movement
usually to show mother's love, which can be connected to the Christian Lore of The Virgin Mary.
these also attract butterflies and hummingbirds
in France, these carnations are given at funerals
symbolize disappointment or rejection.
Are carnations edible and tasty?
To humans, carnations are edible but not so much tasty. Carnations are great for edible decorations. Usually, the petals are ripped off as garnish for cakes, salads, and desserts. They don't have the best flavour but their aroma and colours are used to enhance food. An interesting fact, however, is some beer and wine manufacturers use carnations as a flavouring agent.
Carnations are toxic to dogs and cats. There's not a lot of literature stating what causes their toxicity but if ingested, your pet can develop mild dermatitis and have mild gastrointestinal signs. So keep them away from your furry buddies!
Other interesting facts
they can grow up to 31 inches
their leaves are usually greyish or blueish green
the flower is both male (stamens) and female (pistil)
can grow 1 to 5 flower heads
Columbia has the highest carnation production in the world
the birth flower of January
national flowers of Monaco, Spain, Slovenia, and Ohio
carnations are worn on Parents’ Day and Teachers’ Day in Korea
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