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Gillyflower-art - 6/17/01


"A Gillyflower by any Other Name Would Still Smell of Cloves" by Sarra of Caer Adamant (Sarah Dressler).


NOTE: See also the files:Wed-Flowers-art, roses-art, lavender-msg, herbs-msg, seeds-msg, gardening-bib, spices-msg, cinnamon-msg, galangale-msg, gums-resins-msg.





This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set

of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.


These files are available on the Internet at:



Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.


While the author will likely give permission for this work to be

reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first

or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.


                               Thank you,

                                    Mark S. Harris

                                    AKA:  Stefan li Rous

                                         stefan  at florilegium.org



A Gillyflower by any other name

Would still smell of cloves

by Sarra of Caer Adamant


The name gillyflowers have many spellings and are associated with many flowers.  The list of common spellings includes: gili-flower, gilloflower, gillyvor, gylofre, girofle, and many others.  All of these derivations come from the Latin Carophyllus, which means "nutleaved" This name was given because the gillyflower's fragrance was similar to the fragrance of the clove tree, which was then called Eugenia Caryophyllata.  To add to the confusion the name gillyflower was assigned to many types flowers; most notably the carnation, but it also refers to other members of the Dianthus family, pinks, sweet Williams, and even occasionally stock.  The common trait that gives them all the right to the name gillyflower is the scent of cloves.


        The carnation is said to have been introduced to England by Julius Caesar in 55BC.  During the next 400 years the Romans occupied England and introduced many plants, traditions and beliefs.  The carnation or "coronation" as it was then called was used to make wreaths, garlands, and crowns.  These crowns in Latin were known as "corona".  The term coronation eventually evolved to carnation.  In the Middle Ages there were hundreds of varieties of carnations, most of which no longer exist.  Parkinson, one of the leading garden experts and authors of the period said of carnations: "But what shall I say to the Queen of delight and of Flowers, Carnations and Gilliflowers, whose bravery, variety, and sweet smell joined together teeth everyoneŐs affection with great earnestness both to like and to have them?"  ParkinsonŐs enthusiasm for the carnation can also been seen in this quote: "I take this goodly great old English Carnation, as a precedent for the description of all the rest, which for his beauty and stateliness is worthy of prime place."  So we see that the ubiquitous choice of modern florists has been a favorite since ancient times.



Copyright 2001 by Sarah Dressler, PO Box #157, St. Georges, DE 19733 <Floriligeum  at aol.com>. Permission is granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided the author is credited and receives a copy.


If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in

the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also

appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being

reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.


<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
All other copyrights are property of the original article and message authors.

Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org