Chrysanthemum, sometimes called mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae.
The name “chrysanthemum” is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower).
There are 40 wild species of chrysanthemum and thousands of varieties created via selective breeding.
Chrysanthemums are tropical flowers. They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.
The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China as a flowering herb and is described in writings as early as the 15th Century B.C.
Chrysanthemums are available in variety of shapes and sizes and the flowers differ between species. Stem can reach 5 to 15 centimeters (2 to 6 inches) in height. Flower can have 1 to 25 centimeters (0.4 to 10 inches) in diameter.
Other than its traditional yellow color, there are also other colors such as purple, lavender, pink, burgundy, bronze, white and red color.
They have alternately arranged leaves divided into leaflets with toothed or occasionally smooth edges. The compound inflorescence is an array of several flower heads, or sometimes a solitary head.
Varieties with more than one flower are called spray chrysanthemums.
The Chrysanthemum flowers bloom in various forms, and can be daisy-like, decorative, pompons or buttons.
Chrysanthemums are composites, meaning that their flower heads are made up of tiny individual flowers. The flowering parts of chrysanthemums are made up of disk and ray florets.
Disk florets are tiny flowers located at the center of the bloom; ray florets are the showier flowers on the
perimeter (what we view as the petals). The ray florets are considered imperfect flowers, as they only possess the female productive organs, while the disk florets are considered perfect flowers as they possess both male and female reproductive organs.
There are 13 different classes of chrysanthemums with varying flower forms defined by the National Chrysanthemum Society. Each form has specific arrangement of rays and disk florets.
Fruit of chrysanthemum is called ribbed achene.
Chrysanthemums are one of the prettiest varieties of perennials that start blooming early in the fall. This is also known as favorite flower for the month of November.
Chrysanthemum symbolizes happiness, joy, love or grief, depending on the color and the human culture. In certain European countries, chrysanthemum is a symbol of death and it is inevitable part of funeral bouquets. In the United States, the flower is usually regarded as positive and cheerful, with New Orleans as a notable exception.
The chrysanthemum is one of the “Four Gentlemen” of China (the others being the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo). They also represent the four seasons, the orchid for spring, the bamboo for summer, the chrysanthemum for fall, and the plum blossom for winter. The chrysanthemum is said to have been favored by Tao Qian, an influential Chinese poet, and is symbolic of nobility.
The Chrysanthemum was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks in AD 400. Japanese emperors so loved the Chrysanthemum flower that they sat upon Chrysanthemum thrones. Chrysanthemums, kikus in Japanese, were featured on the Imperial Crest of Japan.
The chrysanthemum was first introduced into the Western world during the 17th Century.
Chrysanthemums entered American horticulture in 1798 when Colonel John Stevens imported a cultivated variety known as ‘Dark Purple’ from England.
Chrysanthemum flowers have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Chrysanthemum tea is very popular and is used as a relaxant. It is also commonly taken to help relieve head congestion and strengthen the lungs.
A chrysanthemum festival is held each year in Tongxiang, near Hangzhou, China.
The “Festival of Happiness” in Japan celebrates the flower.
Chrysanthemum contains a chemical called pyrenthrum, which helps naturally repel most bugs.
Acording to feng shui, this flower is believed to bring happiness and laughter to the home.
Flower can survive 2 weeks in the vase, but leaves die much sooner. Because of that, leaves are often removed from the stem (after cutting of the plant) to ensure longer lifespan.
Tutankhamen was buried with floral collars of chrysanthemum.
The term “chrysanthemum” is also used to refer to a certain type of fireworks shells that produce a pattern of trailing sparks similar to a chrysanthemum flower.