What does the word "carnation" mean?
The etymology of the word "carnation" goes back to the medieval Latin "clavellus", meaning "little nail" or "little clove". This Latin term itself derives from the classical Latin "clavus", meaning "nail" or "peg". The name "carnation" refers to the delicate, tapering petal shape of this flower, which resembles a small nail. This name has been used to designate various species of flowers in the Dianthus genus, belonging to the Caryophyllaceae family.
Over time, the term "carnation" developed to refer specifically to flowers of the Dianthus genus, which includes varieties such as Dianthus caryophyllus, commonly known as marigold, or Dianthus plumarius, also known as carnation. These flowers are appreciated for their beauty, pleasant fragrance and delicately fringed petals.
In the beginning…
The history of the carnation goes back to antiquity, and the flower's origins date back thousands of years. The carnation originated in the Mediterranean basin, mainly in Southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. The earliest references to the carnation date back to Greek and Roman times. The Greeks called it "Dianthos", meaning "divine flower" or "flower of the gods". The Romans commonly used carnations for various ceremonies and festivities.
In the Middle Ages, the carnation gained popularity in Europe and was cultivated in royal gardens and monasteries. The flower was highly prized for its pleasant fragrance and delicate petals. Over time, numerous varieties of carnation were developed by horticulturists, giving rise to a great diversity of colors and shapes. The carnation has become a much-loved flower in bouquets, floral arrangements and perfumes, thanks to its heady fragrance and timeless beauty.
Carnations are grown in many parts of the world, but certain areas are particularly renowned for their production. The main carnation-growing regions include southern Europe, notably Spain, Portugal, Italy and France, where the Mediterranean climate offers ideal conditions for their cultivation. In America, Colombia is also a major player in carnation production, thanks to its favorable equatorial climate. Other Latin American countries, such as Ecuador and Kenya, are also important producers. In Asia, China and India also produce a significant quantity of carnations for the world market.
The carnation-growing process comprises several essential stages: planting, development and harvesting. Carnations are generally planted in spring in well-drained soil enriched with organic matter. Seeds can be sown directly in the ground or grown in a nursery for later transplanting. Once the seeds have been planted, it's important to maintain regular watering to encourage germination.
The development of carnations requires particular attention to the care of young plants. They need sufficient light, humidity and good fertilization to grow healthily. Carnations are also susceptible to disease and pests, so it's important to monitor their health and take preventive measures if necessary. Carnations are harvested when the flowers are fully open but not yet wilted. Stems are cut close to the base, taking care not to damage other shoots. Carnations can be harvested throughout the flowering season, which varies according to variety.
Once harvested, carnations can be used to decorate bouquets, floral arrangements or to extract the delicate carnation fragrance for perfumery. Good management of the carnation-growing process guarantees quality flowers, offering all their beauty and fragrance to botanical and perfume enthusiasts.
What did you know about carnations in perfumery?
Carnation has a distinctive fragrance that is spicy, floral and slightly peppery. The scent of carnation is often described as warm, enchanting and elegant. Carnation's spicy notes give it a vibrant, sensual dimension, while its floral nuances add a touch of delicacy to its olfactory bouquet.
In perfumery, carnation scent is often used to create spicy accords, notably in association with other spices such as cardamom, pepper, cinnamon or clove. It also blends well with floral notes such as rose, jasmine and ylang-ylang, adding a softer, more refined dimension to the fragrant composition.
Carnation can also be combined with woody and musky accords to bring additional depth and sensuality to fragrances. Its complex, versatile fragrance makes it a popular ingredient with perfumers, enabling them to create sophisticated, bewitching olfactory creations.
Carnation has a wide range of benefits and virtues. Its essential oil is recognized for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, helping to fight skin infections and promote healing. It can also relieve muscle and joint pain thanks to its analgesic effect, while soothing skin inflammation. Carnation has traditionally been used to reduce nausea and upset stomach. What's more, its antioxidants help protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. However, before using for medicinal purposes, it is advisable to consult a health professional.
Popular carnation perfumes
• Eau de parfum l'Heure Bleu by Guerlain
• Eau de Parfum Florabotanica by Balenciaga
• Eau de toilette Infusion d'oeillet by Prada
• Eau de parfum L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci
• Eau de parfum Velvet Love by Dolce&Gabbana
• Opium Eau de Parfum by Yves Saint Laurent
• Blue Carnation by Roger & Gallet