Fresh Flower Chrysantemum Flower History
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Flower History
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Chrysanthemum Flower History

Chrysanthemum beckons the holidays and, like people born this month, represents a cheerful and optimistic demeanor. Chrysanthemum portrays a desire for rest and relaxation, longevity and happiness.   The Greek word chrysos, meaning "gold," gives this flower its name.  Since the 8th century B.C., Chrysanthemums have proved to be pure gold, especially in Asian herb gardens.   In those ancient times, the syrup from boiled roots was imbibed as a remedy for headaches.  Leaves made common drinks, and petals adorned salads and special entrees.

This "Queen of Fall Flowers" has remained important in Japanese and Chinese cultures.   A legend from Japan tells of a dozen men and a dozen women who set out from China to find a herb that was the key to eternal youth.  They carried with them a basket of chrysanthemums to trade for the herb they sought.   According to the story, their ship wrecked off the coast of Japan.  The survivors swam to shore and there they planted the first chrysanthemums the country had ever seen.   Its coat of arms still pairs the chrysanthemum flower today.

Centuries later, the mum was introduced to the rest of the world.   Germany celebrates the chrysanthemum flower in connection with a Christian legend.  Its citizens decorate their homes on Christmas Eve with white chrysanthemums that represent the Christ child.   This tradition comes from a story, passed down through the generations, about a family of peasants whose dinner was interrupted by the sound of crying.   When they peered outside, they saw a beggar whom they invited in from the cold.  When he was warm and no longer hungry, he suddenly revealed himself – in splendid white clothing and halo – as Christ.  

Chrysanthemums, related to daisies, are just as easy to enjoy today as they were in ancient times, but now even more varieties exist thanks to hybridization.   They can be obtained in just about any standard color and combination.  These are tolerant, late-summer plants, usually started from cuttings.  

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