Chrysanthemums, often called mums or chrysanths, are of the genus Chrysanthemum and constitute approximately 30 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. It is native to Asia and northeastern Europe. The name Chrysanthemum is derived from the Greek, chrysos (gold) and anthos (flower).
In some countries of Europe, chrysanthemums are symbolic of death and are only used for funerals or on graves – similarly, in China, Japan and Korea, white chrysanthemums are symbolic of lamentation and/or grief. In some other countries, it represents honesty.With New Orleans as an exception, in the United States , the flower is usually regarded as positive and cheerful.
Medicinal Uses: Chrysanthemums have many uses – aside from floral decoration. Extracts of Chrysanthemum plants have been shown to have a wide variety of potential medicinal properties, including anti-HIV-1, antibacterial and antifungal.
Insecticide Use: Further, pyrethrum (dried chrysanthemum) is a natural source of insecticide. When not present in amounts fatal to insects, mums still appear to have an insect repellent effect. This translates into disease and insect resistant, hardy plants.
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”
Random Fact: Chrysanthemum plants have been shown to reduce indoor air pollution by the NASA Clean Air Study. Chrysanthemums were recognized as the official flower of the city of Chicago in 1961.
Fall is the ‘Goldilocks’ time of year – not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right. The air gets crisp. Trees start to change into an amazing palate of color. I begin to think about pumpkins, apples, and warm beverages.
Last night, I pulled out a rather large, dead bush. The root system was massive and deep. However, determination and perceverence succeeded! I won the battle against the bush! Afterwards, I prepared the soil – adding organic chicken fertilizer (Chickity-Doo-Do) and organic compost. I mixed the soil well and went on to plant my two new beauties …
As a firm believer in perennials (plant once and they come back year after year!), mums are perfect. Hardy or garden mums (different from florsit’s mums, which aren’t winter hardy, but are very neat-looking with large flowers) are more rough-looking but will come back again next year. They come in a variety of colors – burgundy, pink, bronze, and yellow. You can by them now in full bloom. Florist mums are great for pots indoors and out, while hardy mums are good for planting in the ground for a permanent planting.