Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths, are of the genus Chrysanthemum, comprising approximately 30 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae which is native to Asia and northeastern Europe. The name chrysanthemum was given tot hese plants by Linnaeus and is derived from the Greek words, chrysos (golden) and anthemon (flower), with many of the cultivated varieties having brilliant yellow-gold flowers.
Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC. The plant is renowned as one of the "Four Gentlemen" in Chinese and East Asian art. The plant is particularly significant during the Double Ninth Festival. It is believed that the flower may have been brought to Japan in the 8th century CE, and the Emperor adopted the flower as his official seal. There is a "Festival of Happiness" in Japan that celebrates the flower. The flower was brought to Europe in the 17th century.
Modern chrysanthemums are much more showy than their wild relatives. The flowers occur in various forms, and can be daisy-like, decorative, pompons or buttons. This genus contains many hybrids and thousands of cultivars developed for horticultural purposes. In addition to the traditional yellow, other colors are available, such as white, purple, and red. The most important hybrid is Chrysanthemum × morifolium (syn. C. × grandiflorum), derived primarily from C. indicum but also involving other species. The photo here is from a plant in our garden, which was given to us as a cutting by a neighbour. It currently has a profuse showing of rich, large blossoms that brighten the wet and gray autumn days.
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