[Sca-cooks] Cloves / Gilliflowers was: Caudle spices
johnnae at mac.com
Tue Jul 13 06:42:51 PDT 2010
After the last major discussion on the topic of cloves and those pesky
gilliflowers or clove pinks,
I kept an eye out for more on the topic. (I know the obsessive/
compulsive reference librarian dies hard.)
I was rewarded by coming across an article which
appeared in Garden History. The author is John Harvey; he's the author
book Mediaeval Gardens and numerous papers on plants and garden history.
In this paper on "Gillyflower and Carnation" Harvey looks at the
question of how
old the plant is in Western European gardens. Instead of dating to
classical times, Harvey writes "It now seems far more probable that
the real carnation, the old double red clove, is the most modern of
classical plants brought into cultivation before the great age of
He also promises, "We shall deal later with the question whether, in
1386-1400, the word clowe-gilofre can have meant anything else than
Harvey notes part of the problem in English is the plant has numerous
It doesn't turn up as Gilliflower in that spelling until 1535;
it's also applied to a number of plants which doesn't help. William
Turner in the mid-16th
century certainly failed to be consistent in his various lists and
compounding the confusion.
Harvey traces the plant back through medieval plant lists and through
When Chaucer writes:
"Ther was eek wexing many a spyce,
As clow-gelofre, and licoryce,
Gingere, and greyn de paradys,
Canelle, and setewale of prys,"
he was talking about spices.
Harvey traces the word "clow-gelofre" etymologically back to its roots
that it must be the spice cloves in the 15th century and earlier. He
same for all the other early quotations mentioned in the OED.
pages of also tracing the plants, Harvey concludes "Neither gilofre nor
in any spelling, occurs before 1500 as unequivocally the name of a
He believes the plant could not have been introduced much before 1500.
to general modern supposition, but in agreement with the views of
Gerard, the Carnation is not an ancient but a relatively modern
addition to the
Harvey, John H. "Gilliflower and Cranation." Garden History. 1978: V.
(Spring), pp. 46-57. [The article can be found on Jstor.]
What this article indicates is the English manuscript recipes that
clow-gelofre and its many forms prior to 1500 must be indicating the
not the flower. Only after 1500, possibly quite later than 1500 in
it be possible for it to be a flower.
hope this helps
Johnnae llyn Lewis
On Jul 10, 2010, at 12:52 PM, Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:
> Gelofres is Cloves Gilofre. In some usages it may be the flower,
> a.k.a. the Clove Pink, but in this case it's probably the spice,
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