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Leading the way with Dianthus

British National Carnation Society

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What is delicate , durable and delightful all in one?

The Carnation


Scientifically known as Dianthus Caryophyllus, it is a historically rich and meaningful flower choice.  With its scientific name dianthus roughly translated 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 worlds oldest cultivated flowers, the carnation is appreciated for its ruffled appearance, clove-like scent and extended blooming periods.

The carnation history dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times.  

Carnations in these early times were predominantly found in shades of pale pink and peach. , but over the years the pallete of available colours 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 by florists who use in weddings, funerals and bouquets.  The fact that the carnation continues to endure is a testament to its vast appeal.

In the early part of the 20th century carnations became the official flower for Mothers Day.

To this day, carnations remain a favourite flower choice for many different occasions.  They are immediately recognisable flowers, and they possess a charm and allure that continues to captivate people around the world.  The powerful sentiments these flowers can express are a perfect compliment 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.


Carnation Colour Meanings


Whilst the carnation flower meaning in general signifies virtues and emotions like love, distinction and fascination, it is very interesting to note, that each of the several colours of the carnation signify a different meaning and association.


Red Carnation

The red carnation flower is a symbol of being associated with admiration and friendship.  It also represents the meaning of  deep love and affection.



Pink Carnation

This is considered to be the most significant amongst the carnation colours.  It is believed that the pink carnation first bloomed from the Virgin Mary’s tears as she wept for Jesus carrying the cross.  Thus these flowers symbolise a mothers undying love.  Over the years it has come to be associated with a woman’s love.


White Carnation

These are symbolic of feelings of pure love, innocence, faithfulness, ardent love and good luck.  They also signify gratitude.


Purple Carnation

These mean capriciousness, meaning the ability to change according to whim.  But the occasions on which these are given is unclear.


Yellow Carnation

These signify emotions of rejection, disdain and disappointment to someone.


Striped Carnations

This flower is used when one wants to convey their refusal to someone.