Many people associate blooming flowers with springtime—which is true for many species. However, did you know that some flowers flourish best in the fall? The chrysanthemum—the flower of autumn—is a stunning beauty used in many of our vibrant fall bouquets.
So what makes the chrysanthemum so special? Maybe it’s because they are so versatile and come in virtually every color on the spectrum. Maybe it’s because they are deep rooted in history and carry much significance. Or maybe it’s because they are simply a beautiful flower. Either way, there is more to these autumn enchanters than meets the eye.
History of chrysanthemums
These exotic beauties are native to Asia and parts of Northeastern Europe. First planted in China as a flowering herb, Chrysanthemum petals were often added to meals and the leaves brewed in drinks. Mums were believed to have had special healing powers—legend has it, they grew near a town where the locals all lived to be over 100-years-old! This flower was also considered a prestigious variety in China and was only available for the upper class society to enjoy.
Over time chrysanthemums became highly celebrated in Japan as well. A prominent icon in Japanese culture today—the symbol for the emperor and imperial family—this flower can be found anywhere from passports to the throne of the emperor of Japan. So loved is this beautiful autumn bloom, it even has its own designated day in Japan—Chrysanthemum Day, also known as the “festival of happiness” (September 9). Many festivals take place to honor the bloom during the months of September (“chrysanthemum month” in Japan) and October as well.
As mums entered the western world, they were hybridized to include an array of colors, shapes and sizes—there are currently 40 different chrysanthemum varieties in existence.
Chrysanthemums are more than just a pretty face. The Chinese believe this flower represents ease and rest, and often use it as an object of meditation; and the Japanese consider it to be a symbol for life and happiness.
The November birth flower
The 13th wedding anniversary flower
The official flower of Chicago and Salinas, CA
A popular Mother’s Day gift in Australia (May is in autumn)
The official flower of November in the U.S
Used in teas to detox and treat the flu and headaches in some parts of Asia
Known to bring happiness and laughter in the home according to Feng Shui
The largest commercially grown plant in the U.S
A delicious flower
Incorporating flowers you can eat into mealtime is an increasingly popular trend these days. However, in Asia, using chrysanthemum petals in food and drink dates back to as early as the 15th century B.C.
They are most commonly used in teas, salads and soups—perfect comfort foods as the weather cools, or side dishes to your Thanksgiving dinner, like this sweet potato recipe. Add chrysanthemums to this hearty chicken soup recipe for a perfect, cozy autumn night in. Or try a unique chrysanthemum dish, like chrysanthemum greens with sesame dressing. Chrysanthemum tea also has a number of health benefits, such as detoxifying, cooling and relaxing capabilities.
There are many reasons to welcome this enchanting flower into your home for fall. Treat guests to all the fantastic qualities this bloom has to offer. It’s not only a beautiful autumn flower; it has a rich history, healing abilities and is also tasty. Fill your home, or your front porch with vibrant fall bouquets, abundant with the perfect fall flower—the chrysanthemum.