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Chrysanthemums: The Ultimate Fall Flower

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We often associate certain flowers with certain times of the year. Red roses, for example, are an iconic symbol of Valentine’s Day, and spring never really arrives until the tulips start popping up. Poinsettias usher in the holiday season while sunflowers remind us of lazy late-summer days.

But when it comes to fall, chrysanthemums are the star of the season – especially during the month of November. With their brilliant colors and long-lasting nature, mums can brighten up any front porch or indoor space. Many people, however, do not realize the deep symbolism behind this favorite autumn icon.

In Chinese culture, this flowering herb symbolizes a life of ease and longevity. Together with the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo, chrysanthemums are renowned as one of the “Four Gentlemen” in Chinese and Eastern Asian art and are depicted in traditional ink and wash painting

The earliest illustrations of mums show them to be daisy-like flowers that are small and yellow in color. Today’s chrysanthemums can be quite showy and would probably not be recognized by ancient growers. Modern chrysanthemums can be daisy-like or decorative, like pompons or buttons. In addition to the traditional yellow color, mums can now also be found in a variety of whites, purples, and reds.

Around the 8th century A.D., the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan and was so admired that it was adopted as the crest and official seal of the emperor. The western world was not introduced to the mum until the 17th century and it first appeared in American horticulture in 1798 when Colonel John Stevens imported a variety called ‘Dark Purple’ from England.

Just as the season the represent, chrysanthemums are known for being hardy and strong while also presenting an unmistakable sense of beauty and intrigue. Consider including some mums the next time you order flowers so that you can enjoy these amazing flowers! The Cattails and Mums Basket from Soderberg's Floral & Gift is a perfect way to spread some autumnal cheer!

Did You Know???

  • Despite their strong presence in the fall, chrysanthemums are tropical flowers that were originally grown in the Eurasian region.
  • In the Victorian language of flowers, yellow chrysanthemums are a gentle way to decline amorous advances and white mums encourage the recipient to tell the truth or to be honest.
  • The chrysanthemum is November’s birth flower. If you are born in November, the mum is symbolic of your soul’s many layers.
  • In Eastern meditative traditions, the chrysanthemum is used as a focus tool to activate the heart chakra.
  • Germans have white chrysanthemums in their homes on Christmas Eve as a symbol of Christ.
  • The name, chrysanthemum, is adapted from the Greek word, “chryos” which means gold (the original color) and “athos” meaning flower.
  • Some species of chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make tea in parts of Asia. Likewise, a rice wine in Korea called gukhwaju is flavored with chrysanthemum flowers.
  • The chrysanthemum was recognized as the official flower of the city of Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1966.