Name: Chrysanthemums, also known as ‘mums’ or ‘chrysanths’
Latin name: Chrysanthemum indicum
Meaning: Happiness and Optimism
Origins: Asia and northeastern Europe with most species coming from East Asia and China specifically
The name ‘chrysanthemum’ comes from the Greek words ‘chryso-‘, which means gold, and ‘-anthemon,’ which means flowers. These ‘golden flowers’ are multi-layered with rounds and rounds of small, delicate petals clustered together around a yellow center. There are so many varieties of chrysanthemums, from round pom-pom looking blossoms to others featuring elongated, draping petals. They come in nearly every shade but yellow, pink, white, and red are the most popular varieties florists offer.
Chrysanthemums hold a special place in Chinese culture where they are a beloved blossom. They were first cultivated there as a flowering herb in the 15th century BCE but after a while developed a large following of admirers who loved their distinctive shapes, which lent themselves easily to the artwork of the time. They also traveled to Japan in the 8th century CE. And today ‘Chrysanthemum Day,’ one of the five sacred festivals in Japan, is celebrated in honor of these flowers.
In Japanese culture, the chrysanthemum, with its slow, languorously opening petals and its bright yellow center, represents the sun. Confucius also encouraged his followers to use the flower as a way to center themselves during meditation. The chrysanthemum is a centering flower that symbolizes optimism.
Because there is such a variety of chrysanthemums available, it’s fairly easy to find one to pair with your other chosen flowers. These flowers, though, bring a distinctly exotic feel to the arrangements they are a part of because they tend to be large and complex-looking – they draw the eye away from more typical flowers. While chrysanthemums play will with others, they’re best paired off with each other either in a variety of colors or a variety of species.
Be sure to check out the rest of our Flower Glossary for all your wedding flower needs.