Collected in 1908 (the first year Mother’s Day was celebrated!), this specimen was grown in cultivation at the former western headquarters for the Ferry-Morse Seed Company in Mountain View, California. The white carnation was chosen as a Mother’s Day symbol by Anna Jarvis, the holiday’s founder, because they were her mother’s favorite. Carnations remain closely associated with Mother’s Day in the United States. White carnations traditionally symbolize the memory of mothers who have died, and colored carnations honor living mothers. The carnation, or Dianthus caryophyllus, is probably native to the Mediterranean, but its native range is obscured by at least 2,000 years of cultivation. There are over 27,000 named cultivars of Dianthus species.
Botanists at Carnegie Museum of Natural History share pieces of the herbarium’s historical hidden collection on the dates they were discovered or collected. Check back for more!