The chrysanthemum is the second most popular flower in the floral industry next to the rose. For gardening enthusiasts, this flower is an autumn beauty. For herbalist and health conscious people, it is a therapeutically important flower, popularly used to make herbal tea. Medicinal uses of chrysanthemum tea include treating acne, sore throat, fever, influenza, and circulatory problems. In comparison to older cultivars, the newly developed chrysanthemum hybrids are more vibrant.
Chrysanthemums are commonly known as chrysanths or mums. They are regarded as the 13th wedding anniversary flowers and a birth flower for November. They are native to Asia and Europe (Eurasian regions), where they are grown as herbaceous perennials in gardens. During autumn, there are hardly any other blooms that match the aesthetic value of chrysanth beds in home gardens.
As per botanical taxonomy, the flower is classified under the family Asteraceae of the order Asterales. Similar to other members of the Asteraceae, the chrysanthemum is borne with capitulum (or flower head) inflorescence with petal-like disk florets in the center and smaller ray florets in the perimeter. Scientifically, it is represented as Chrysanthemum indicum.
Under the genus chrysanthemum, there are about 30 different species which vary in their size, shape, and color. Based on the arrangement of florets, they are categorized under 13 bloom forms. The common forms are daisies, buttons, and pompons. Besides the traditional yellow-colored variety, you can find white, golden, orange, pink, red, purple, and violet blooms.
The general meaning of the flower revolves around expression of joy, love, optimism, and a long life. For instance, a white mum denotes royal love and truth, a yellow one conveys slighted love, and a red mum simply expresses love. However, you can find varied meanings in different places.
The flower signifies optimism and cheerfulness in the United States; whereas it is a flower of death in Europe, and is used in funerals. In Asian cultures, it is a noble flower and stands for life. According to mythological beliefs, placing a chrysanth underneath a wine glass will lead to a healthy and long life.
Cultivation and Care
Growing and maintaining chrysanths requires minimal effort. You can either sow seeds directly in the soil or use plantlets for propagation. They bloom at their peak during the fall, when most other plants shed their leaves. This odd blooming period makes it perfect for autumn landscape designs.
Chrysanth bouquets are long-lasting and graceful. You can use only mums (single and bi-color types) or mix them with roses, gerberas, and fillers. Also, incorporate seasonal foliage in the arrangement to create a green background. If you are making a centerpiece, select a bowl that complements the flower colors that you have chosen.
An exclusive chrysanthemum exhibition is held every year in Japan, during the Festival of Happiness. The flowers are accompanied with other designs and patterns that are popular in Japanese tattooing.