The true pink Carnation (gillyflower or clove-pink) Dianthus caryophyllus was my wedding flower in 1972. It is a flower of fascination, scent, and love. The flower is edible and is used to scent and flavor many foods.
CARNATION, Gillyflower, Clove-pink)
Research by Jeanne Rose 1970 – to the present
DIANTHUS CARYOPHYLLUS, CARNATION OR CLOVE PINK
Absolute of Carnation
Carnation absolute is an amber-colored liquid sometimes a greenish-brown viscous liquid with an herbaceous, bitter-honey-like, and spicy back note and a bitter taste. In natural perfumery is used in floral blends (rose, lily, narcissus, jonquil, Cassie, white ginger, honeysuckle), spice accords, etc. There is any intensity of the odor that is best expressed when a drop of spicy clove oil plus a drop or two of sweet cinnamon oils is added and it is diluted with 95% grape spirits and allowed to age for several weeks.
These were photographed in Golden Gate Park in 2016.
Pinks have a sweet and spicy fragrance and charming, frilled flowers.
These are the Organoleptic (Sensory) and Odor Characteristics of Carnation Absolute
(Description of color, clarity, viscosity, taste & intensity of Odor.
|Color||Dark rich brown, sometimes green|
|Intensity||Works well with many florals, fruity, citrus and wood scents|
|Tenacity||Has a rich tenacity and presence in a perfume|
Odor description ~ The odor of Carnation absolute is absolutely unlike any Carnation, gillyflower, or sops-in-wine that I have ever smelled. It is dark and dank and needs to be fluffed up with spicy clove and sweet cinnamon to work in a perfume.
CARNATION ABSOLUTE PROFILE
By Jeanne Rose from my original 1969 notes and old books
Carnation – abs … Portion of Plant Used in Distillation, How Distilled, Extraction Methods & Yield ~ Dianthus caryophyllus, the common garden carnation flowers are extracted with solvents and the result is a hard, green concrète then washed in alcohol for the absolute. In France and in many books, it is called ‘absolue d’œillet’. The brown viscous liquid was sweet-scented of honey, spice, and herbs, somewhat like the flower. This scent mixed well with other floral notes and fixatives such as Castoreum and Oakmoss. This product was produced in Europe. My original bottles have a more representative scent of Carnation flowers of old, rather than what is grown today.
Name of Oil ~ Carnation absolute (Dianthus caryophyllus)
Carnation probably comes from the Italian dialectal carnagione (flesh color) from the Late Latin word carnationem. Carnations were mentioned in Greek literature 2,000 years ago. Dianthus was coined by Greek botanist Theophrastus and is derived from the Greek words for divine dios and for flower anthos. Some scholars believe that the name carnation comes from coronation or corone (flower garlands), as it was one of the flowers used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others think the name stems from the Latin carnis (flesh), which refers to the original color of the flower, or incarnation of God made flesh. In Romanian, the word for carnation is garoafa, it is also surnamed “flower of royalty”.1
These plants that we love so well are called Pinks, Carnations, Sweet William, or Dianthus. They vary according to the variety wanted, or the breeder decided to grow.
Countries of Origin ~ Natives of Europe, the absolute produced in France, Egypt, and Holland.
This is an old ‘sops in wine’ from the Fenbow garden of Elizabethan times, as described in the book “Old Carnations and Pinks” by C. Oscar Moreton.
The Nutmeg Clove Carnation from “Old Carnations and Pinks” by C. Oscar Moreton
GENERAL DESCRIPTION ~ THE BOTANY OF CARNATION
Carnations are flowers that are widely recognized by most people. They are classified as Dianthus caryophyllus, when translated, means “flower of love” or “flower of the gods”. There are approximately 300 species in the genus. They are native to the Eastern Hemisphere and are found naturally in the Mediterranean region, although modern varieties are grown both in greenhouses and in fields around the world. With such widespread commercial production available, there is not a limited season of availability. Because of their long-lasting qualities and fragrance, carnations are often featured in arrangements at holidays celebrated with flowers, at special occasions such as weddings and parties, and in sympathy arrangements.
Essential carnation oil in its absolute form is both rare and expensive. Many varieties produce a clove-like scent, and the aroma is said to be both uplifting and motivating. It was called ‘Clove-Pink”. Carnations and other flowers such as Stocks were also called Gillyflowers and Girofle. Not only are people attracted by their scent, but carnations also have an extended vase life from 7 to 21 days depending on the cultivar, harvest stage and flower food.
>>Many of the commercially produced varieties have flowers up to 3 inches in diameter and have very little odor. Colors especially red colors are on the same chemical pathway as scent. So, the more color or complexity of color often the less scent. Most flowers are double forms with ruffled petals. Remember that the same chemical pathways carry scent and color; if you breed for color and size, you will have less scent.<<<
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF THE OIL- ISOEUGENOL ACETATE. Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) are popular ornamentals and are mainly used as cut flowers. Their scents are composed of benzenoids, terpenoids, fatty acid derivatives, and other minor components (Clery et al., 1999; Hudak and Thompson, 1997; Schade et al., 2001; Zuker et al., 2002). Classical fragrant carnations possess a spicy and clove-like odor caused mainly by benzenoids (Clery et al., 1999).2
HISTORICAL USES OF THE OIL AND THE HERB
In Odorographia, p. 260 The perfume of cloves blended with a trace of that of methyl-salicylate (wintergreen oil) or a compound organic ether, is conspicuous in several species of Dianthus or ” Pink “: Plants belonging to the extensive order Caryophyllaceae. Most of the species are natives of Europe, temperate Asia, and North Africa. Dianthus Caryophyllus or ” Clove Pink ” is the original of the garden Carnation.
According to a Christian legend, “Carnations first appeared on Earth as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight, and Carnations sprang up from where her tears fell” pink Carnation becoming the symbol of a mother’s undying love1. The history of the flower is fascinating. It was called ‘sops in wine”
HISTORY ~ Gillyflower. any of several scented flowering plants, especially the carnation, or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus), stock (Matthiola incana), and wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri). However, the gillyflower of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare was the carnation. Other plants that are types of gillyflower are dame’s gillyflower, also known as dame’s violet (Hesperis matronalis); mock gillyflower, also known as soapwort or bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis); feathered gillyflower, also known as the grass or garden pink (Dianthus plumarius); and sea gillyflower, also known as the thrift or sea pink (Armeria maritima).
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. – Proflowers.com
THERAPEUTIC VALUE OF CARNATION ~ Hilda Leyel mentions that the Carnation has cordial properties and enlivens the heart through the senses. Gerard uses a conserve of the flowers with sugar to comfort the heart. Ms. Leyel continues that the pinks and carnations of all kinds have a cleansing effect on the blood, correct disorders of the head and the heart, and rejoice all the senses by their spicy scent and flavor. A water distillate from pinks was said to be a cure for epilepsy and another says: ‘if a conserve be composed of them this is the life and the delight of humanity’ [this sounds like Gerard is being consulted again].
• • •
CARNATION … PHYSICAL USES AND HOW USED APPLICATIONS
The pink is an ornamental plant known. As aromatic species, it follows that its composition must find a very fragrant essence, and indeed it can be found, even in small amounts, different for different varieties of carnations that exist. In the herbaceous plant parts it is also possible to find active saponins and some minor. As for its medicinal uses, there is little to say. There is a plant that is characterized by intense possess medicinal properties because its main job rather falls within the field of perfumery. If it is included here because once the water (hydrosol) was used as eye drops – carnation eyewash – for tired or damaged eyes. This application is a clear example of the theory of the sign: in fact, once the flower the carnation compared it with the eyes, because in the center of it appear certain that resemble paint the apple of the eyes of Hence it was proposed to extract the spirit of carnation, to soothe tired eyes or damaged, and began to prepare distilled water garden carnations. “. …http://www.mtplantas.com/eng/plants/E35153.htm
Emotional/Ritual Uses ~ Clove Pink ~ Dianthus caryophylatta ~ The favorite flower of Henry IV of France and still very much cultivated. This flower was introduced into France by French missionaries and soon assumed a double form in France in 1719. It has a lovely clove-like spicy and floral odor. Pinks and carnations of all kinds can be eaten and have a cleansing effect on the blood, head, and heart. Distill the flowers for a ‘cure’ for epilepsy; the hydrosols and waters can be drunk for nervous disorders. The absolute is a delight when used in small amounts in perfumer. – from Leyel
Interesting Facts ~ So popular were the clove gillyflowers in the 17th and 18th-century that they were used in soup, sauce, syrup, and cordials. The flowers were candied and preserved, made into kinds of vinegar, decorated salads, and always used as sops in wine and floated in the drinks of engaged couples. The actual Carnation known as ‘sops in wine’ or the clove gillyflower was a particular variety sometimes dried and powdered, but more often made into syrups and conserves. – from Leyel
From Victoria in Perfume Notes, 2005 – “Dianthus is derived from Greek, meaning di, Zeus and anthos, flower, “the flower of Zeus,” indicating its importance in the religious context of Ancient Greece. In Italy, Bologna in particular, the plant has been associated with Saint Peter and celebrated widely, with a special day at the end of June dedicated to carnation. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the most popular flowers for fragrance gardens. No monastery herb garden would be complete without carnation, the medicinal uses of which were referenced as early as the Han Dynasty texts (23-206 A.D.). In European herbal medicine tradition, carnation flowers have been prescribed for the nervous and coronary disorders. However, its probably most interesting usage has been recorded in the late 1600s, when the Countess of Dorset, England, made her own love potion, including carnation, lavender, bay leaf and marjoram. It is rather ironic that the flower of the most licentious of all Greek gods is supposed to have powers to cure wayward lovers. Interesting to note is that carnation signified devotion and loyalty in a variety of traditions, from European to Asian.”
Nerve Tonic made of Clove July flowers in Mountain wine
3 oz. Clove July flowers
Infuse into a quart of Mountain wine for 10 days
Shake every day.
On the 10th day filter through clean white blotting paper.
Drink a wineglassful 3 X/day as a nerve tonic. (a wineglassful is 2 oz)
From a Hilda Leyel book
BLENDING & Perfumery ~ Blends well with Ambrette seed EO, CO2 and abs; Basil EO and abs; Bergamot EO; Buddha wood EO and CO2; Cassie abs; Champa flower EO and CO2; Clary sage EO and abs; Coconut CO2; Fir balsam abs; Rose Geranium EO and abs; Genet (Spanish Broom) abs; Hay abs; Jasmine abs; Jonquil abs; Lavender EO, CO2 and abs; Lime EO; Lemon EO; Mandarin and Tangerine EO; Massoia EO and CO2; Neroli EO; Osmanthus abs; Rose abs, CO2 and abs; Sandalwood EO, CO2, and abs; Tonka abs; Vanilla abs and CO2; Ylang EO and abs; Violet leaf abs; and Tuberose abs.
Symbolic Meaning ~ Carnation is love, affection, fascination, and health. I used the Carnation flower on my wedding announcements in 1972.
Carnation Meaning. The carnation means fascination, distinction, and love. According to a Christian legend, carnations grew from the Virgin Mary’s tears as she watched Jesus carry the cross. This is how they became associated with motherly love.
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 to finding particular significance in many other cultures worldwide. – Proflowers.com
KEY USE ~ The absolute for scent and the flower petals in food and drinks.
•FORMULAS for Perfumes•
Formula for Mock Carnation Scent
WEST OF MIDWAY
Another formula Using Carnation Absolute
…….Alphabetical order …………….IN DROPS ……………………………. IN NOTES
- Scientific Papers Series Management, Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development Vol. 18, Issue 2, 2018 PRINT ISSN 2284-7995, E-ISSN 2285-3952 107 RESEARCH ON THE EUROPEAN FLOWER MARKET AND MAIN SYMBOLIC VALUES OF THE MOST TRADED SPECIES
- J. Japan. Soc. Hort. Sci. 82 (2): 145–153. 2013. Available online at http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jjshs1 JSHS © 2013 Analysis of Scents Emitted from Flowers of Interspecific Hybrids between Carnation and Fragrant Wild Dianthus Species by Kyutaro Kishimoto, et al
Leyel, Hilda. Cinquefoil
Leyel, Hilda. Elixirs of Life
Leyel, Hilda. Herbal Delights
Moreton, C. Oscar. Old Carnations and Pinks. Published by George Rainbird with Collins, 1955.
Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book, p. 63
Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things, p. 247
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Perfumery Supplement. P. 132
Clove Pink – Dianthus – in Golden Gate Park Arboretum
2 thoughts on “CARNATION (Gillyflower, Clove-pink)”
Oh, this is absolutely wonderful! My mind is swimming with connections and thoughts about this unique and, in my opinion, too often overlooked flower. I always enjoy the etymology and history. I didn’t realize that Gillyflower was another name for Dianthus. This is the favorite flower of my youngest daughter and the first flower I planted when we built our home, a mixed color variety from seed. I was entranced by them that year.
The description from Odorgraphia of a combination of clove and oil of wintergreen matches exactly my impression of the scent. It’s so uplifting and fresh, giving a feeling of expansion/burdens lifted. I just love Carnations. It was also interesting to learn that Bouncing Bet (Saponaria officinalis) is known as “Mock Gillyflower.” I grow this too, since first making this home. Not nearly as enchanting as true Gillyflower but nice. Now I want to find organic Carnations and make a cordial or elixir!
Leenie, thanks for writing. I was able to grow true Carnations a few years ago when I had more sun in my yard and made a scented tincture, a bit of which I still have. But now I am looking to purchase a bouquet of fragrant Carnations from a nursery that I found located in northern Washington state, so that I can make another fragrant tincture. [medicinal tincture is made differently than a fragrant tincture]. I tried to make a perfume with Carnation absolute, but it does not smell at all like Carnation.