This article is about the flower. For the children's picture book by Kevin Henkes, see Chrysanthemum (book). For the short story by John Steinbeck, see The Chrysanthemums.
Chrysanthemum sp.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Subfamily: Asteroideae
Tribe: Anthemideae
Genus: Chrysanthemum
Type species
Chrysanthemum indicum
  • Chrysanthemum subsect. Dendranthema (DC.) DC. ex Kitam.
  • Neuractis Cass.
  • Pyrethrum sect. Dendranthema DC.
  • Leucanthemum (Tourn.) L.
  • Dendranthema (DC.) Des Moul.
  • Pyrethrum sect. Dendranthema DC.

Chrysanthemums (/krɪˈsænθəməm/), 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.[4] There are countless horticultural varieties and cultivars.


The name "chrysanthemum" is derived from the Ancient Greek: χρυσός chrysos (gold) and Ancient Greek: ἄνθεμον anthemon (flower).[5][6]


The genus once included more species, but was split several decades ago into several genera, putting the economically important florist's chrysanthemums in the genus Dendranthema. The naming of the genera has been contentious, but a ruling of the International Botanical Congress in 1999 changed the defining species of the genus to Chrysanthemum indicum, restoring the florist's chrysanthemums 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.[7] Chrysanthemums, also known as ‘mums’, are one of the prettiest varieties of perennials that start blooming early in the fall. This is also known as favorite flower for the month of November.[8]


Historical painting of chrysanthemums from the New International Encyclopedia, 1902

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.[9] Over 500 cultivars had been recorded by the year 1630.[7] 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.[10]

Economic uses

Ornamental uses

'Enbee Wedding Golden' and 'Feeling Green'
'King's Pleasure' – Class 1
'Whiteout' – Class 1

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.

Over 140 varieties of chrysanthemum have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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 10 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.

Culinary uses

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 ( , 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.

Insecticidal uses

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.

Environmental uses

Chrysanthemum plants have been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by the NASA Clean Air Study.[11]

Cultural significance and symbolism

Chrysanthemums, Rock and Bird, artist unknown

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.[12] In the United States, the flower is usually regarded as positive and cheerful,[13] with New Orleans as a notable exception.[14]

In the Victorian language of flowers, the Chrysanthemum had several meanings. The Chinese Chrysanthemum meant cheerfulness, whereas the red Chrysanthemum stood for I Love, while the yellow Chrysanthemum symbolized slighted love.[15]






Chrysanthemum shows have been traditionally held in many towns.[20]

United States



accepted species[3]
  1. Chrysanthemum ×grandiflorum Ramat.
  2. Chrysanthemum ×rubellum Sealy
  3. Chrysanthemum ×morifolium
  4. Chrysanthemum abolinii (Kovalevsk.) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  5. Chrysanthemum achillaea L.
  6. Chrysanthemum alabasicum (H.C.Fu) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  7. Chrysanthemum brachyanthum (C.Shih) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  8. Chrysanthemum carinatum
  9. Chrysanthemum chalchingolicum Grubov
  10. Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium
  11. Chrysanthemum coccineum
  12. Chrysanthemum coreanum (H.Lév. & Vaniot) Nakai
  13. Chrysanthemum coronarium
  14. Chrysanthemum decaisneanum N.E.Br.
  15. Chrysanthemum delavayanum H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  16. Chrysanthemum dichrum (C.Shih) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  17. Chrysanthemum fastigiatum (C.Winkl.) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  18. Chrysanthemum frutescens
  19. Chrysanthemum gracile (Hook.f. & Thomson) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  20. Chrysanthemum grubovii (Muldashev) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  21. Chrysanthemum horaimontanum Masam.
  22. Chrysanthemum hypoleucum (Y.Ling ex C.Shih) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  23. Chrysanthemum indicum L.
  24. Chrysanthemum junnanicum (Poljakov) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  25. Chrysanthemum kinokuniense (Shimot. & Kitam.) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  26. Chrysanthemum kokanicum (Krasch.) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  27. Chrysanthemum konoanum Makino
  28. Chrysanthemum majus
  29. Chrysanthemum marginatum (Miq.) N.E.Br.
  30. Chrysanthemum mawei Hook.f.
  31. Chrysanthemum maximum L.
  32. Chrysanthemum miyatojimense Kitam.
  33. Chrysanthemum morifolium Ramat.
  34. Chrysanthemum multifidum Desf.
  35. Chrysanthemum nitidum (C.Shih) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  36. Chrysanthemum parvifolium Chang
  37. Chrysanthemum przewalskii (Poljakov) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  38. Chrysanthemum purpureiflorum H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  39. Chrysanthemum ramosum (C.C.Chang) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  40. Chrysanthemum rhombifolium (Y.Ling & C.Shih) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  41. Chrysanthemum roborowskii (Muldashev) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  42. Chrysanthemum segetum
  43. Chrysanthemum shihchuanum H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  44. Chrysanthemum shimotomaii Makino
  45. Chrysanthemum trilobatum (Poljakov ex Poljakov) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  46. Chrysanthemum tripinnatisectum (Y.Ling & C.Shih) H.Ohashi & Yonek.
  47. Chrysanthemum vestitum (Hemsl.) Stapf
  48. Chrysanthemum vulgare (L.) Bernh.
  49. Chrysanthemum yoshinyanthemum Makino
  50. Chrysanthemum zawadskii Herbich

See also


  1. conserved type ratified by General Committee, Nicolson, Taxon 48: 375 (1999)
  2. Tropicos, Chrysanthemum L.
  3. 1 2 Flann, C (ed) 2009+ Global Compositae Checklist
  4. Liu, P. L., et al. (2012). Phylogeny of the genus Chrysanthemum L.: Evidence from single-copy nuclear gene and chloroplast DNA sequences. PloS One 7(11), e48970.
  5. David Beaulieu. "Chrysanthemums and Hardy Mums – Colorful Fall Flowers". Home.
  6.  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Chrysanthemum". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  7. 1 2 Chrysanthemum. Flora of China. eFloras.
  8. Flowers Chrysanthemum Archived 6 March 2016 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. History of the Chrysanthemum. National Chrysanthemum Society, USA
  10. The New York Botanical Garden, Curtis' Botanical Magazine, Volume X Bronx, New York: The New York Botanical Garden, 1797
  11. B. C. Wolverton; Rebecca C. McDonald; E. A. Watkins, Jr. "Foliage Plants for Removing Indoor Air Pollutants from Energy-efficient Homes" (PDF). Retrieved 27 Dec 2013.
  12. Flower Meaning. Retrieved 22 September 2007. Archived 12 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. "Chrysanthemum (Mums) Flower Meaning & Symbolism - Teleflora".
  14. "Metairie Cemetery". PBase.
  15. "Language of Flowers - Flower Meanings, Flower Sentiments". Retrieved 2016-11-26.
  16. "Flowering Plants and Shrubs".
  17. "Remarkable Investment Attraction Result of Tongxiang City". Zhejiang Foreign Frade and Economic Cooperation Bureau. Archived from the original on 16 December 2003. Retrieved 17 July 2009.
  18. 2010年03月27日星期六 二月十二庚寅(虎)年. "国学365-中国历代菊花诗365首". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  19. Chao, E. (2009). "Niubi: the real Chinese you were never taught in school". Plume
  20. LOVE OF FLOWERS."Sketches of Japanese manners and customs" Jacob Mortimer Wier Silver, 1867
  21. Jones, Colin. "Badges of honor: what Japan's legal lapel pins really mean". Japan Times. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  22. Inoue, Nobutaka (2 June 2005). "Shinmon". Encyclopedia of Shinto. Retrieved 17 November 2008.
  23. "Markings on Japanese Arisaka Rifles and Bayonets of World War II".
  24. "二本松の菊人形". Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  25. 1 2 La Peninsula, xlii (1)
  26. Chrysanthemum: The Official Flower of Chicago. Chicago Public Library.
  27. City of Salinas Permit Center. City of Salinas Community Development Department.
  28. "Sigma Alpha, University of California, Davis chapter".
  29. "Birth Month Flower of November – The Chrysanthemum – Flowers, Low Prices, Same Day Delivery". 1st in Flowers!. 27 October 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2010.

Further reading

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