This is abstracted from the Oxford English Dictionary entry for
clove-gillyflower. It supports the contention that by Digby's time (1600s),
the word clove-gillyflower probably applied to the flower,
and not to the spice.
girofle, gilofre was the original name of the spice; but
in OFr. clou de girofle (= `girofle nail', from the
shape) came into popular use at an early date; thence the Eng.
clowe of gilofre or more commonly clowe-gilofre. This
was commonly shortened at length to clowe, clove,
for the spice; the
full name adhering to a flower, the `clove-pink', smelling like the
spice. Finally with the corruption of gilofre, to
gillyflower, the latter name without clove, has passed
on to various scented flowers, having no connexion either with the
spice, or with the `clove-pink'.
The spice clove.
Quotes given from A. 1225, C. 1386, C. 1400, C. 1420, 14.., and 1486.
2. A clove-scented
species of Pink (Dianthus Caryophyllus), the original of the
carnation and other cultivated double forms.
Quotes given from 1538, 1578, 1594, 1597, 1657, A. 1755, and 1861.