Carnation Flowers : Fascination, Distinction, and Love.
What is delicate, durable, and delightful all in one? The carnation , scientifically known as Dianthus caryophyllus, is a historically rich and meaningful flower choice. With its scientific name dianthus roughly translating to “flower of love” or “flower of the gods”, depending on the source, this flower is one that has been revered for centuries. One of the world’s oldest cultivated flowers, the carnation is appreciated for its ruffled appearance, clove-like scent, and extended blooming period.
The carnation’s history dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times, when it was used in art and d?cor. Christians believe that the first carnation bloomed on earth when Mary wept for Jesus as he carried his cross. Carnations in these early times were predominantly found in shades of pale pink and peach, but over the years the palette of available colors has grown to include red, yellow, white, purple, and even green. Throughout so many centuries of change, the popularity of the carnation has remained undiminished. The fact that the carnation continues to endure is a testament to its vast appeal.
The meanings of carnations include fascination, distinction, and love. Like many other flowers, different messages can also be expressed with the flower’s different color varieties. Light red carnations, for example, are often used to convey admiration, whereas the dark red version expresses deeper sentiments of love and affection. White carnations are associated with purity and luck, and pink carnations are often given as a sign of gratitude. In the early part of the 20th century, carnations became the official flower of Mother’s Day in addition finding particular significance in many other cultures worldwide.
To this day, carnations remain a favorite flower choice for many different occasions. They are immediately recognizable flowers, and they possess a charm and allure that continues to captivate people around the globe. In fact, in many parts of the world, the popularity of carnations surpasses that of any other flower including roses. The powerful sentiments these flowers can express are a perfect complement to their classic beauty and long-lasting freshness. By retaining its status as a floral mainstay for such a long time, the carnation has proven itself to be a lasting flower in more ways than one.
Carnations date back more than 2,000 years. They’re rich with mythology, symbolism and even debate, mostly because of the name.
Some say that it comes from Ancient Greece, while others argue that it is derived from “carnis”, a Latin word that means flesh, thus bringing out the original pink shade of the flower that is related to incarnation.
Carnations are extremely common flowers that symbolize fascination, distinction and love. They can be found in a wealth of shades and color combinations, starting from classic red and pink, to unusual combos of yellow and blue, fuschia, purple and more.
Chrysanthemums, commonly referred to as mums, have become the go-to flower for front porch decor during the summer and fall season. You can see them adorning doorways and front steps across America. They are hardy, colorful flowers that are easy to care for.
The Meaning of Chrysanthemums
A Swedish botanist named the chrysanthemum from the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold, and anthemon, meaning flower. The etymology carries over from its Asian origin. The word for chrysanthemum in both Chinese and Japanese is equivalent to gold flower. While the meaning behind the flower’s name translates across cultures, the symbolism does not. From ancient Asian cultures to modern-day America, the chrysanthemum has signified everything from life to death.
Meanings in different cultures:
- In China, the flower is one of the “Four Gentlemen” (???) of China, a prestigious group of plants which commonly signify the changing seasons.
- The chrysanthemum became associated with death rather than life in European cultures because of its prevalent use as gravesite decoration.
- In the U.S. it has grown in popularity since its introduction in the colonial period. It is now commonly referred to as “the Queen of fall flowers”.
- In Australia, the chrysanthemum is gifted to “mums” (moms) on Mother’s Day.
- The mum is the November birth flower.
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The History of Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums have a strong association with Eastern culture because they were first cultivated in China. Pottery dating back to the 15th century BC depicts the flower as we know it today. Respect for this flower ran so deep, a city was named after it: Chu-Hsien, or Chrysanthemum City. In ancient China, almost all parts of the chrysanthemum had medicinal use. The roots were boiled for pain relief, the petals were eaten and the leaves were brewed to create a ceremonial drink. Legend has it the flower possessed the power of life.
When the chrysanthemum made its way to Japan around the eighth century AD, its reputation flourished much like it did in China. The emperor adopted a single chrysanthemum as his crest and official seal. Family seals for prominent Japanese families still often contain a chrysanthemum varietal. National Chrysanthemum Day, celebrated in Japan since 910 AD, is one of the five sacred festivals of Japan.
It wasn’t until much later in the 17th century that the flower was introduced to the Western world where its symbolism took a more foreboding turn. Chrysanthemums were often placed on gravestones and became associated with death.
Today, the chrysanthemum is once again beloved for its late blooming season and rich colors. In America, you are likely to see chrysanthemums in homecoming corsages and adorning porches and balconies from August to November.
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