Flower of November – Chrysanthemum. What does this plant symbolize?

Other flowers
Chrysanthemum cluster

Since ancient times, flowers contained great symbolical power. Each flower signifies certain feelings and has different meanings. That’s why we often declare our feelings not with words but with flowers. Although the most popular flower to give is rose but there are many other beautiful plants. In this article, we are going to focus on a very beautiful flower – chrysanthemum. We will take a deeper look at the chrysanthemum meaning, as well as its origins and characteristics.

As the flower of November, chrysanthemum reminds us that even at the beginning of winter, we can find joy and beauty. During the Victorian era, people associated chrysanthemum with friendship. While in the U.S. floral experts say that chrysanthemum is a symbol of cheerfulness and positivity with an exception of the New Orleans, where chrysanthemums fill the vases on the tombs during the All Saints day.

Chrysanthemum meaning

The name of this flower derived from the ancient Greek language. It is a compound of two words chrysos (gold) and anthemos (flower). Therefore, the literal translation of the chrysanthemum is “golden flower”. Although this flower is available in many colors, the traditional chrysanthemum is yellow. And that is the reason why Swedish naturalist Karl Linnaeus gave chrysanthemum such a name.

Yellow chrysanthemum meaning
Image via Adamrusn

Chrysanthemum has both negative and positive meanings, depending on the cultural context. Positive chrysanthemum meaning is luck, health, love, and cheerfulness. In Australia, chrysanthemum is a flower of the mother’s day. People either wear it as a sign to honor their passed-away mothers or give them as a present on mother’s day. There aren’t many facts about why or when these flowers became a flower of mother’s day. But we could probably relate it to the fact that chrysanthemum is sometimes called mum. A bouquet of chrysanthemums not only fills home with color but also brings luck.

Chrysanthemums are native to China. So it has a special meaning in this country. The Chinese associate chrysanthemum with wealth and long, idle life. It is also a symbol of reincarnation or a new life. Therefore, chrysanthemums are a very popular gift to a newborn. Meanwhile, in Japan, the chrysanthemum is a symbol of the emperor and his family. Symbolically he rules from the Chrysanthemum Throne. Both in China and Japan, it is also a symbol of autumn since chrysanthemum blooms at that time.

But in some parts of Europe, the chrysanthemum meaning is different. In countries such as France, Poland, Hungary, Lithuania, and others, the chrysanthemum is a symbol of death. People bring chrysanthemums to funerals and decorate graves with them. So, if you happen to be in these countries, be careful giving chrysanthemum as a romantic or celebratory gift.

Chrysanthemum meaning by color

There are lots of legends about the symbolism of chrysanthemum, and they all are different. Moreover, a lot depends on the color of the flower. To make sure you’re saying the right thing while giving a chrysanthemum, let’s take a look at their color meanings.

Pink chrysanthemum meaning
Image via floraflora_jackie
  • Yellow chrysanthemum is a symbol of friendship and cheerfulness. In the Victorian language of flowers, it represents fortune. Yellow chrysanthemum also symbolizes the sun’s rays, its energy, and heat, as well as joy and intelligence. But in terms of romance, it refers to a rejected or unrequited love.
  • Pink chrysanthemum is especially adored in Japan. It represents longevity and is a symbol of the Emperor and Imperial family.
  • White chrysanthemum is usually brought to funerals in some European countries. But in other parts of the world, it signifies honesty and sincere love. In Asia, white chrysanthemum is also a symbol of fidelity and sincerity. People plant them in gardens to attract peace and harmony to their homes.
  • If you want to reveal your love, send a red chrysanthemum. We can also find red chrysanthemums at many festivals and celebrations.

The origins of chrysanthemum flower

Chrysanthemums were first grown from wildflowers in China. There are descriptions of this flower that dates back to the 15th Century B.C. Around the 8th century A.D., the chrysanthemum appeared in Japan. Since then, it became a very important symbol not only in China but in Japan as well. Since 910 A.D., the Japanese celebrate the Chrysanthemum Day (Kiku no Sekku) which is one of the five sacred festivals.

The western world discovered chrysanthemums in the 18th century. Thanks to a Swedish botanist Karl Linnaeus who was the first to describe the flower and give her its scientific name in 1753. The first descriptions of the chrysanthemum reveal that they were small and looked like daisies. This shows how the ancient species changed over the years.

Orange chrysanthemums
Image via farfalla_flowers

Early selection and cultivation date back to the 15th century. In 1798, an inventor John Stevens imported chrysanthemum species from England. Since then people have been using these flowers for landscaping in the U.S. During hundreds of years, lots of cultivars and varieties were created. By 1630, there were 500 recorded cultivars. In 2014, this number was 27,000.

Chrysanthemum characteristics

Chrysanthemum is a flowering genus that belongs to the Asteraceae family. It is one of the most cultivated flowers in the world with more than 20,000 varieties. Chrysanthemums are also a very popular ornamental flower used not only in bouquets but grown in gardens and garden beds. It can be a perfect gift that has a profound meaning and decorates our interior.

Gorgeous chrysanthemums in vase
Image via theflowerfarm

Chrysanthemums are one of the pretties perennial plants that we can enjoy in autumn. They can grow up to 60 inches. During their blooming, chrysanthemums produce magnificent flowers that can either be single or double (with two layers of petals). The colors of the flowers vary from pink, white, red, yellow, and others.

Chrysanthemum medicinal uses

In ancient times people believed that chrysanthemum has the power of life. In folk medicine, the flower’s boiled roots were used to treat headaches. During the Han dynasty, people made chrysanthemum wine and drank it on the ninth day of the ninth month. They believed chrysanthemum wine prolonged their lives. That’s why it became a symbol of longevity.

Pink chrysanthemum bouquet
Image via Ieranel

In some parts of Asia, people also make chrysanthemum tea from white and yellow petals. Researchers claim that taking products that contain chrysanthemum may lower blood sugar and help for people with type 2 diabetes. Other researchers say that chrysanthemum products may help fight with stomach cancer. People also use chrysanthemum as a remedy to treat fever, headaches, angina, and prostate cancer. But more research is required to prove these claims. In low doses, chrysanthemums are used as an insect repellent. It helps to repel female mosquitoes from biting.

Cover image via dasha.dobryana