Chrysanthemum’s are a part of the Daisy (or Asteraceae) family, and are a very popular and affordable option for those who wish to have flowers in their own home, or to give as a colourful gift. Each thin Chrysanthemum stem, which may be 50 to 100cm tall, has weedy foliage and is toped by a number of small, brightly coloured flowers, each with many petals. The cultivated Chrysanthemum Dis-Bud has only one flower on each stem, although the flower is much larger, and it’s hundreds of pointed petals form a pom-pom shape.
Florists enjoy and continue to use Chrysanthemums on a huge scale, despite an increasing perception of the flower as ‘common’ and the belief that they symbolise death in some countries. Their wide variety in colour, tall narrow stems and classic-shaped flower heads make them extremely versatile to use in mixed bunches, or even just as a tall and pretty display on their own. ‘Chryssies’, as they are affectionately called, can have their small flowers woven into Daisy-chains, wristlets or button-holes.
The Chrysanthemum is native to Asia and Northeast Europe, and it is Asia that plays a central role in the history of the flower. The Chinese are responsible for the cultivation of the flower and Chrysanthemum Tea - a popular ‘cooling’ herbal remedy made from the entire flower. The leaves of the Garland Chrysanthemum are used as a vegetable in Asian cooking. The Chrysanthemum is also the imperial emblem of Japan.