Dianthus, its botanical name, means divine flower. Carnation was the flesh-pink colour Elizabethan portrait painters used as a background wash.
The carnation is available as a standard carnation – one large flower per stem, or a spray carnation with lots of smaller flowers. It is available in a huge range of colours, particularly red, pink and orange.
It is thought that carnations are native to the Mediterranean but extensive cultivation over the past 2,000 years has made its origins difficult to determine.
The carnation is a member of the Caryophyllaceae family.
Carnations can last up to three weeks but should be kept away from ripening fruit and vegetables because of ethylene gas.
Did You Know?
Red carnations mean ”alas for my poor heart”, striped means refusal, yellow is for disdain and pink represents a woman’s love.