The carnation's intense colours and romantic symbolism means this is a popular buttonhole flower at weddings, christenings and other special occasions. Some varieties are lightly fragrant, making it a cheerful addition to a bouquet.
Colours and shapes
The carnation offers a magnificent array of colours, from deep purple, dark red, fluorescent yellow, champagne, soft orange, salmon pink to white or combinations of colours. There are also a variety of different flower shapes. Some carnations are a single bloom, while spray carnations display a bunch of different flowers on a single stem. The petals are eye-catching, with either rounded, serrated or fringed edges. It's no surprise that the carnation is a fantastic vase flower.
The popularity of carnation goes back many centuries. The Romans took advantage of its sweet fragrance to make wreaths and fresh eau de toilette out of the petals. The flower can also be regularly seen in religious paintings, as a symbol of the Virgin Mary and the suffering of Christ.
The carnation symbolises passion, longing and romance. Renaissance painters in the 15th and 16th century chose this flower to appear in their engagement scenes. Centuries later, the carnation is still an appropriate gift for declaring passionate love.
The original birthplace of the carnation is on the coast of the Mediterranean. The Latin name for the carnation is Dianthus, derived from Dios (God) and anthos (flower), making the carnation a divine flower.