|Wednesday What's New: Autumn and Chrysanthemums|
|Written by Heleigh Bostwick Wednesday, 05 October 2011|
Todayís Daily Dirt isnít really about something new, but it is in the spirit of autumn, which officially began a few days ago. Itís a short history of chrysanthemums (mums for short), which for many (myself included) are the quintessential fall flower--from their origins in China where they were first cultivated in the 15th century B.C. to Japan to Europe, and finally arriving in America during the colonial period.
Chrysanthemums were first cultivated as a flowering herb. The Chinese felt that these chrysanthemum herbs held the power of life and it is believed that the boiled roots were used as a headache remedy, young sprouts and petals were eaten in salads, and the leaves were brewed for a festive drink. Chrysanthemums made their way to Japan next where the people were similarly enamored of this beautiful flower. So much so that the Japanese have a National Chrysanthemum Day, known as the Festival of Happiness.
During the 17th century these flowers were introduced to the Western world where the botanist Karl Linnaeus combined the Greek words chrysos, meaning gold with anthemon, meaning flower, to arrive at the modern day name chrysanthemum. The colonists in turn, introduced chrysanthemums to America where to this day, it is one of the most popular fall flowers, synonymous with the cool crisp, sunny days of autumn. Todayís mums bear little resemblance to the original flowers as they have been hybridized for an array of showy colors in shades of pink, purple, red, yellow, bronze or orange, and white, shapes, and sizes.
For more information visit the National Chrysanthemum Society