Landscape designThe History of the Chrysanthemum

October 14, 2016
history of the chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemums have a very long and rich history.

Everyone loves the classic fall colors of flowery chrysanthemums! This famous fall plant has a long, rich history. Let’s take a look at the history of this beloved plant.

The Chrysanthemum in Ancient China

The first chrysanthemums were cultivated in China in the 15th century, B.C.E. These chrysanthemums were flowering herbs that had medicinal, as well as aesthetic, uses. Chrysanthemums were believed to hold the power of life; boiled roots were often used as a headache remedy, sprouts and petals were eaten in salads, and a tea was made from their leaves.

This multi-functional plant was also revered for its beauty. Around the 8th century, A.D.E. the chrysanthemum found its way to Japan. The Japanese people who cultivated the plant were so taken with its delicate flowers that the chrysanthemum became the crest and official seal for the emperor! To this day, Japan still loves chrysanthemums, even celebrating National Chrysanthemum Day, also known as the Festival of Happiness, on September 9th.

Chrysanthemums in America

It was in the 18th century that chrysanthemums spread to the Western part of the world. In 1753, Karl Linnaeus, a renowned Swedish botanist, renamed the flowery plant. Previously called “chu” in China, Linnaeus formed a Westernized name from the Greek words “chrysos”, meaning gold, with “anthemon”, meaning flower. The Chrysanthemum was introduced to North America during colonial times, and from then growers around the world went on to cultivate chrysanthemums into a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Today, chrysanthemums are the largest commercially produced flower, and everyone has seen a potted chrysanthemum or worn a chrysanthemum corsage. Aside from the artistic beauty of chrysanthemums, the fall plant likely has had such staying power because it is easy to grow, blooms on time, and is the longest lasting of any cut flower. Not only that, but there are so many varieties of chrysanthemums, that you are sure to find the exact color you need! No wonder these amazing plants are so beloved by so many people throughout history!

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