The carnations are considered to be natives of the Eurasia. This flower has gained immense popularity all over the world and is used extensively in ceremonies, festivities, and special occasions.
In addition, it is also symbolic in character.Its scientific name ‘Dianthus’ designates it to be ‘the flower of God’; whereas its common name is believed to come from the word ‘corone’ signifying floral garland. Some other names used for the flower include divine flower, clove pink and gilly flower. The genus ‘Dianthus’ includes about 300 species.
The history of carnations illustrates the flower to be born on Earth from the tears of Mother Mary when she witnessed the plight of her son, Lord Jesus, carrying the cross. The Greeks and Romans were pioneers in using this flower in garlands.
The different colors of this flower are known to represent varied feelings and emotions. A red carnation denotes love wherein the shade of red demonstrates the intensity of feeling. A white carnation stands for purity of love and yellow carnations represent dejection or unhappiness. Carnations can resist varied growing conditions and are therefore grown without much effort. Essential conditions for the growth of carnations include ample sunlight, minimal water and well drained soil. Mulching is also a requirement to enhance air circulation. Spent flowers should be constantly removed to enhance further blooming. Propagation of the plant is done through seeds, cuttings, layering or division.
There are three varieties of carnations. The large flowered carnations have only one flower on each stem. The mini carnations have numerous small flowers and finally, the dwarf carnations have a large number of flowers on each stem. The only similarity that exists between all varieties is that the shelf life of all flowers is high, sometimes even lasting till a month.
Carnations could be annuals, biennials or perennials. The numbers of petals of this flower vary in accordance with the species. Flowers of Dianthus caryophyllus show presence of 5 white, pink or purple petals; whereas some species may even have double flowers with 40 petals. The petals are normally clawed or serrated in shape. As garden plants, carnations attain a diameter of 6 to 8.5 cm. The stems are strong carrying green, grey-blue or purple leaves that are slender and devoid of stalk. This is a bisexual flower with occurrence of stamens in one or two whorls. The number of stamens could either be the same as the petals or double in number.
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