November Birth Flower
The chrysanthemum, which is closely related to the daisy is often referred to by cultivators and gardeners as "mums". The term chrysanthemum is adapted from the Greek words chrysos which means gold (its original color) and anthos meaning flower. The oldest variety of chrysanthemum is the Chinese chrysanthemum, which was a daisy-like plant in China. It was cultivated for nearly 2,500 years before it made its way to Europe.
History of Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum is one of the most popular flowers, next only to rose. Chrysanthemums belong to the Asteraceae (compositae) family, the second largest family of flowers. The plant has been cultivated by the Chinese for more than 2500 years.
Chrysanthemums originated in China and was brought by Buddhist monks to Japan in AD 400. The Japanese Emperors were so impressed by the flower that they often sat on thrones of chrysanthemums. It is now the national flower of Japan. There’s even a “Festival of Happiness” each year in Japan to celebrate this flower.
Chrysanthemum was introduced to England in 1789 and was taken to United States in the early 19th century. In 1961, the city of Chicago recognized chrysanthemum as their official flower. In Chinese culture, the chrysanthemum along with the plum, bamboo and orchid are collectively referred to as the Four Noble Ones. Only the noble were allowed to grow the chrysanthemum in their garden.
Chrysanthemum blooms come in a huge variety of sizes and shapes and in a wide range of colors. Other than its traditional yellow color, there are also other colors such as purple, lavender, pink, burgundy, bronze, white and red color. The mum blossom is actually a collection of hundreds of flowers. Each white petal is a ray flower. Each tiny, orange bump in the center of the flower is the top of a disk flower. Each of the many ray and disk flowers bears a regular blossom’s male and female parts. Chrysanthemums range in height from two inches to six inches (5 to 180 cm), depending on the species.
Types of Chrysanthemums
Chrysanthemums are classified into 9 categories based on the type and arrangement of disk and ray flowers:
- Quill has tubular ray flowers that radiate from center of the head.
- Decorative, which is so packed with broad and long overlapping petals that you can hardly see its center.
- Pompom is small globe shaped flower with tightly packed petals.
- Spoon has the look of a daisy with every tip of its petals having a spoon-like appearance.
- Spider, as its name suggests, spider mums look like spider legs, its petals are long and sometimes go in all directions.
- Anemone usually has more than one row of single flat petals that hhas a raised center of tiny florets onto of the petals. Usually the florets (which are the bud) are darker than the petals.
Chrysanthemum flowers are boiled to make a sweet drink in some parts of Asia. The resulting beverage is known simply as "chrysanthemum tea". Chrysanthemum tea has many medicinal uses, including an aid in recovery from influenza. Due to the longevity of their blooms, chrysanthemum flowers become a favorite of florists for arrangements.
Chrysanthemum flowers have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. Chrysanthemum tea is very popular and is used as a relaxant. It is also commonly taken to help relieve head congestion and strengthen the lungs. Drunk with meals (especially of greasy food) it helps to aid digestion. The fresh flowers can be applied to the eyes in order to relieve dryness and itching. Chrysanthemum is classified as a cool, acrid herb which is useful for relieving heat of the upper body such as chest and head, being especially helpful for itchy, red eyes. It enters the Lung Meridien.
Yellow chrysanthemum is best at clearing heat while white chrysanthemum is better for soothing the eyes, so your tea should be chosen accordingly. The tea can be safely drunk on a regular basis. It may also help relieve certain type of headaches, dizziness and blurred vision. Studies have also shown that chrysanthemum tea may have a beneficial effect on high blood pressure.
If you spend so much of your time in working in front of your computer, easing the eyestrain by drinking chrysanthemum flower tea is recommended to help counteract the side effects of the low levels of radiation coming from the computer screen.
Symbolism & Meanings
Chrysanthemum contains a chemical called pyrenthrum, which helps naturally repel most bugs. It is also thought to improve blood flow and reduce varicose veins. Acording to feng shui, this flower is believed to bring happiness and laughter to the home. The chrysanthemum means compassion, cheerfulness, rest, loveliness, optimism, abundance, wealth, friendship and secret love.
The chrysanthemum flower symbolizes long life, joy, optimism and fidelity. A red chrysanthemum symbolizes love, white symbolizes loyal love and truth, while yellow means slighted love. They are the November birth flower and the 13th wedding anniversary flower. It is said that when placing a single petal of this celebrated flower at the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a healthy and long life. To this day, it was believed by the Japanese that the chrysanthemum is a symbol of the sun, and the way in which this flower opens its petals denotes perfection.
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