CARNATION. For more than 2,000 years men have cultivated the fragrant carnation, which is a developed form of the clove pink found in our old-fashioned gar dens. It is a hardy plant, which usually thrives even in wind and cold and in smoky districts. We know that Shakespeare admired its beauty, for he has Perdita in The Winter's Tale' say, The fairest flowers o' the season Are our carnations and streak'd gilliflowers.
But our carnations are fairer than Shakespeare's, for the carnation lends itself 'readily to man's tinkering.
Most of our large aristocratic carnations with their many beautiful colors and shapes are the results of patient crossing and selection, especially in the last few decades.
In America hundreds of improved fringed-petaled varieties of monthly, tree, or perpetual flowering car nations are extensively grown under glass. Hundreds of hothouses are given up mainly to carnations, pro ducing annually for the markets of the United States and Canada upwards of one hundred million flowers.
Specialists devote themselves to the diseases of the carnation. Many of these new varieties of red, white, pink, yellow, and striped blossoms are now grown in Europe too.
Scientific name of carnation, Dianthus caryophyllus. It grows on a more or less erect branching stem from two to three and a half feet high, and has opposite grasslike leaves covered with a bloom, and solitary terminal flowers that are perfumed and variously colored. (See Pink.)