pink carnations with gratitude and green carnations with Saint Patrick's Day. Over the centuries, the carnation has certainly achieved different measures of distinction.
The carnation has been cultivated for over 2,000 years in Asia and Europe, and its name likely derives from "coronation" or "corone" for the floral garlands that were fashioned for ancient Greek ceremonial events. The Greek botanist Theophrastus gave it the botanical name "Dianthus" meaning "flower of the gods." There are over 300 species, mostly perennials, blooming happily in full sunlight and well-drained soil, and in most of the colors of the rainbow except blue.
According to Catholic legend, Mary, the Mother of Jesus, wept at the sight of her son bearing the cross, and her tears turned to the first carnations. Leonardo da Vinci immortalized the association of the carnation with Mary and Jesus when he painted "The Madonna with the Carnation" (ca. 1475 to 1476). This painting is part of a collection housed in Munich, Germany, and is also called the "Munich Madonna."
State, National Flower
In 1904, the state of Ohio adopted the red carnation as its official state flower. The selection of the red carnation honors President William McKinley, who was an Ohioan, and who was assassinated in 1901. President McKinley was fond of wearing a red carnation in the buttonhole of his jacket lapel. The carnation is also the national flower of Spain.