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Chrysanthemums, sometimes called mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe. Most species originate from East Asia and the center of diversity is in China. There are about 40 valid species. There are countless horticultural varieties and cultivars.
- 1 Etymology
- 2 Taxonomy
- 3 Description
- 4 History
- 5 Economic uses
- 6 Cultural significance and symbolism
- 7 Gallery
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
The name "chrysanthemum" is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower).
The genus once included more species, but was split several decades ago into several genera, putting the economically important florist's chrysanthemum in the genus Dendranthema. The naming of the genera has been contentious, but a ruling of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature in 1999 changed the defining species of the genus to Chrysanthemum indicum, restoring the florist's chrysanthemum to the genus Chrysanthemum.
The other species previously included in the narrow view of the genus Chrysanthemum are now transferred to the genus Glebionis. The other genera separate from Chrysanthemum include Argyranthemum, Leucanthemopsis, Leucanthemum, Rhodanthemum, and Tanacetum.
Wild Chrysanthemum taxa are herbaceous perennial plants or subshrubs. They have alternately arranged leaves divided into leaflets with toothed or occasionally smooth edges. The compound inflorescence is an array of several flower heads, or sometimes a solitary head. The head has a base covered in layers of phyllaries. The simple row of ray florets are white, yellow or red; many horticultural specimens have been bred to bear many rows of ray florets in a great variety of colors. The disc florets of wild taxa are yellow. The fruit is a ribbed achene.
Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC. Over 500 cultivars had been recorded by the year 1630. 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. The flower may have been brought to Japan in the eighth century AD, and the Emperor adopted the flower as his official seal. The "Festival of Happiness" in Japan celebrates the flower.
Chrysanthemums entered American horticulture in 1798 when Colonel John Stevens imported a cultivated variety known as 'Dark Purple' from England. The introduction was part of an effort to grow attractions within Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.
Modern cultivated chrysanthemums are showier than their wild relatives. The flower heads occur in various forms, and can be daisy-like or decorative, like 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.
Chrysanthemums are divided into two basic groups, garden hardy and exhibition. Garden hardy mums are new perennials capable of wintering in most northern latitudes. Exhibition varieties are not usually as sturdy. Garden hardies are defined by their ability to produce an abundance of small blooms with little if any mechanical assistance, such as staking, and withstanding wind and rain. Exhibition varieties, though, require staking, overwintering in a relatively dry, cool environment, and sometimes the addition of night lights.
The exhibition varieties can be used to create many amazing plant forms, such as large disbudded blooms, spray forms, and many artistically trained forms, such as thousand-bloom, standard (trees), fans, hanging baskets, topiary, bonsai, and cascades.
Chrysanthemum blooms are divided into 13 different bloom forms by the US National Chrysanthemum Society, Inc., which is in keeping with the international classification system. The bloom forms are defined by the way in which the ray and disk florets are arranged. Chrysanthemum blooms are composed of many individual flowers (florets), each one capable of producing a seed. The disk florets are in the center of the bloom head, and the ray florets are on the perimeter. The ray florets are considered imperfect flowers, as they only possess the female productive organs, while the disk florets are considered perfect flowers, as they possess both male and female reproductive organs.
Irregular incurves are bred to produce a giant head called an ogiku. The disk florets are concealed in layers of curving ray florets that hang down to create a 'skirt'. Regular incurves are similar, but usually with smaller blooms and a dense, globular form. Intermediate incurve blooms may have broader florets and a less densely flowered head.
In the reflex form, the disk florets are concealed and the ray florets reflex outwards to create a mop-like appearance. The decorative form is similar to reflex blooms, but the ray florets usually do not radiate at more than a 90° angle to the stem.
The pompon form is fully double, of small size, and very globular in form. Single and semidouble blooms have exposed disk florets and one to seven rows of ray florets.
In the anemone form, the disk florets are prominent, often raised and overshadowing the ray florets. The spoon-form disk florets are visible and the long, tubular ray florets are spatulate.
In the spider form, the disk florets are concealed, and the ray florets are tube-like with hooked or barbed ends, hanging loosely around the stem. In the brush and thistle variety, the disk florets may be visible.
Yellow or white chrysanthemum flowers of the species C. morifolium are boiled to make a sweet drink in some parts of Asia. The resulting beverage is known simply as chrysanthemum tea (菊花茶, pinyin: júhuā chá, in Chinese). In Korea, a rice wine flavored with chrysanthemum flowers is called gukhwaju (국화주).
Chrysanthemum leaves are steamed or boiled and used as greens, especially in Chinese cuisine. The flowers may be added to thick snakemeat soup (蛇羹) to enhance the aroma. Small chrysanthemums are used in Japan as a sashimi garnish.
Pyrethrum (Chrysanthemum [or Tanacetum] cinerariaefolium) is economically important as a natural source of insecticide. The flowers are pulverized, and the active components, called pyrethrins, which occur in the achenes, are extracted and sold in the form of an oleoresin. This is applied as a suspension in water or oil, or as a powder. Pyrethrins attack the nervous systems of all insects, and inhibit female mosquitoes from biting. In sublethal doses they have an insect repellent effect. They are harmful to fish, but are far less toxic to mammals and birds than many synthetic insecticides. They are not persistent, being biodegradable, and also decompose easily on exposure to light. Pyrethroids such as permethrin are synthetic insecticides based on natural pyrethrum.
Cultural significance and symbolism
In some countries of Europe (e.g., France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Poland, Hungary, Croatia), incurve chrysanthemums are symbolic of death and are used only for funerals or on graves, while other types carry no such symbolism; similarly, in China, Japan and Korea, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of lamentation and/or grief. In some other countries, they represent honesty. In the United States, the flower is usually regarded as positive and cheerful, with New Orleans as a notable exception.
- In Australia,the chrysanthemum is sometimes given to mothers for Mother's Day, which falls in May in the southern hemisphere's autumn. Men may sometimes also wear it in their lapels to honour mothers, although the flower is naturally in season during the southern hemisphere's spring and early summer.
- The chrysanthemum is one of the "Four Gentlemen" (四君子) of China (the others being the plum blossom, the orchid, and bamboo). The chrysanthemum is said to have been favored by Tao Qian, an influential Chinese poet, and is symbolic of nobility. It is also one of the four symbolic seasonal flowers.
- A chrysanthemum festival is held each year in Tongxiang, near Hangzhou, China.
- Chrysanthemums are the topic in hundreds of poems of China.
- The "golden flower" referred to in the 2006 movie Curse of the Golden Flower is a chrysanthemum.
- "Chrysanthemum Gate" (jú huā mén 菊花门), often abbreviated as Chrysanthemum (菊花), is taboo slang meaning "anus" (with sexual connotations).
- Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.
- An ancient Chinese city (Xiaolan Town of Zhongshan City) was named Ju-Xian, meaning "chrysanthemum city".
- The plant is particularly significant during the Double Ninth Festival.
- The Chrysanthemum Throne is the name given to the position of Japanese emperor.
- Chrysanthemum crest (菊花紋章, kikukamonshō or kikkamonshō) is a general term for a mon of chrysanthemum blossom design; there are more than 150 patterns. The Imperial Seal of Japan is a particularly notable one; it is used by members of the Japanese imperial family. There are also a number of formerly state-endowed shrines (官国弊社, kankokuheisha) which have adopted a chrysanthemum crest, most notably Tokyo's Yasukuni Shrine.
- The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is a Japanese honor awarded by the emperor.
- The city of Nihonmatsu, Japan hosts the "Nihonmatsu Chrysanthemum Dolls Exhibition" every autumn in historical ruin of Nihonmatsu Castle.
- In Imperial Japan, small arms were required to be stamped with the Imperial Chrysanthemum, as they were considered the personal property of the Emperor.
- The chrysanthemum is also considered to be the seasonal flower of September.
- The chrysanthemum was recognized as the official flower of the city of Chicago by Mayor Richard J. Daley in 1966.
- The chrysanthemums is the official flower of the city of Salinas, California.
- The yellow chrysanthemum is the official flower of the sorority Sigma Alpha and the pharmacy fraternity Lambda Kappa Sigma .
- The white chrysanthemum is the official flower of Triangle Fraternity.
The chrysanthemum is the official flower of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia.
- The term "chrysanthemum" is also used to refer to a certain type of fireworks shells that produce a pattern of trailing sparks similar to a chrysanthemum flower.
- The chrysanthemum is also the flower of November.
Tutankhamen was buried with floral collars of chrysanthemum. Resins of the plant were used in incense cones used to ward off insects.
Chrysanthemum japonense var. ashizuriense
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- City of Salinas Permit Center. City of Salinas Community Development Department.
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- "Birth Month Flower of November - The Chrysanthemum - Flowers, Low Prices, Same Day Delivery". 1st in Flowers!. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
- Carvalho, S. M. P., et al. (2005). "Temperature affects Chrysanthemum flower characteristics differently during three phases of the cultivation period". Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 8 (2): 209–216.
- van der Ploeg, A. and E. Heuvelink. (2006). "The influence of temperature on growth and development of chrysanthemum cultivars: a review". Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 81 (2): 174–182.
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