10 Neat Things About the Flower for November
by Shauna Dobbie
by Dorothy Dobbie

The Local Gardener magazines, Ontario Gardener, Manitoba Gardener and Alberta Gardener, are published by Pegasus Publications Inc.

Drawing on her 30 years' experience as a senior executive in the magazine publishing industry, Dorothy launched Manitoba Gardener in 1998, initially running the business out of her home. Two years later, Dorothy's daughter Shauna, living in Ontario, jumped into the fray with Ontario Gardener. And two years after that, they started Alberta Gardener. Visit us at and register for our "Ten Neat things" newsletter. Watch Shaw TV for garden tips and Listen to CJOB for the Gardener Sundays at 9:08

November 25, 2018

1. Chrysanthemum is the flower for November.

It symbolises love, loyalty, honesty, deep passion and well wishes according to the Victorian meaning of flowers, depending on the colour of the chrysanthemums you give. Red is for deep passion but yellow is for a heart broken by love spurned. White mums signify loyalty, and lavender, get well.

2. Golden flower.

The word chrysanthemum means golden (chrysos) flower (anthemon). The original chrysanthemum was a yellow single daisy. They originated in China, and when they came to the attention of Linnaeus (of flower-classification and -naming fame) in 1753 there were already over 500 cultivars recorded.

3. 3,500-year-old flower.

Chrysanthemums were being cultivated in China as early as 1500 BCE. It became known in East Asian art as one of the Four Gentlemen (along with plum blossom, orchid and bamboo) and is a focus of the Chinese Double Ninth festival, falling on the ninth day of the ninth month in the Chinese lunar calendar (October 7 in 2019). According to the I Ching, it's a very dangerous day, and the way to protect oneself is to climb to a high point and drink chrysanthemum wine. In Japan it's simply called Chrysanthemum Day.

4. Chrysanthemum Throne.

In Japan, the imperial throne is called the Chrysanthemum Throne and the imperial seal is the Chrysanthemum Seal. If you are a very good Japanese citizen and, most likely, royal, you might be awarded the Order of the Chrysanthemum. It is a rare honour, and only 17 non-royal individuals have ever received the Order of the Chrysanthemum.

5. White chrysanthemums.

Although they signify honesty in Victorian meanings of flowers, in Japan white chrysanthemums are used at funerals. In New Orleans, as well, they're used to honour the dead. In Australia, on the other hand, people often wear a white chrysanthemum on Mother's Day to honour their mothers, living or dead.

6. Chrysanthemum bonsai.

Though they are short-lived perennials, chrysanthemums are often used in bonsai in Japan. To get the woody trunks, you have to grow the flower roots on a piece of old wood, making it appear to be a tree. To make it more difficult, several types of chrysanthemums bloom according to short-day light schedule so you need to control the amount of darkness they get.

7. Eating and drinking.

The blooming tea that has become popular in the last few years tends to be chrysanthemum. The blooms are also used to flavour Korean rice wine and as a beautiful side to sashimi (raw fish) dishes in Japan. You can eat the leaves and stems, too, either raw or cooked. Toss raw stems and leaves into salad when the shoots are young. For more mature shoots, steam them for about a minute before dressing them.

8. Chrysanthemums as medicine.

The flower tea is often used by herbalists to cure a number of ills. It is said to be high in Vitamin A and C, which makes it good for skin and eyes and which stimulates production of white blood cells, the soldiers of the blood system. It is also said to prevent osteoporosis, the degeneration of bone density in older age.

9. Chrysanthemums split.

There used to be more kinds of chrysanthemums, but the genus was divided into several genera a few decades ago. In fact, until the 1999 International Botanical Council ruling, florists' chrysanthemums were known as Dendranthema. The ruling re-established the florists' flower, but others are now known as Leucanthemum, Tanacetum and a variety of names.

10. Showing chrysanthemums.

For the particularly devoted fan of chrysanthemums, you can grow and enter a bloom in a show. There are 13 categories of the flower, including the more exotic anemone, spider and quill forms. You'll often see these in florist shops, not so often in gardens, particularly here, where they don't overwinter.

Copyright Pegasus Publications Inc.

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