Flower of the Month: Chrysanthemum

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. Countless horticultural varieties and cultivars exist.

Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as a flowering herb as far back as the 15th century BC.  Over 500 cultivars had been recorded by 1630.  By the year 2014 it was estimated that there are now over 20,000 cultivars in the world and about 7,000 cultivars in China.  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.

Chrysanthemum cultivation began in Japan during the Nara and Heian periods (early 8th to late 12th centuries), and gained popularity in the Edo period (early 17th to late 19th century). Many flower shapes, colours, and varieties were created. The way the flowers were grown and shaped also developed, and chrysanthemum culture flourished. The Imperial Seal of Japan is a chrysanthemum and the institution of the monarchy is also called the Chrysanthemum Throne. A number of festivals and shows take place throughout Japan in autumn when the flowers bloom. Chrysanthemum Day (菊の節句 Kiku no Sekku) is one of the five ancient sacred festivals. It is celebrated on the 9th day of the 9th month. It was started in 910, when the imperial court held its first chrysanthemum show.

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.

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THS: A Hardy History

1923 – 1980… In 1923, Mr. Jay V. Hare, Secretary of the Reading Railroad, persuaded a number of his friends and associates to cooperate with him in putting on a flower show in the village of Trevose where he had his home.At that time this area of Lower Bucks County was real countryside with wide vistas of rolling green acres.In these surroundings, Jay Hare found his avocation in the pursuit of horticulture, as did his neighbors. Mr. Garrett V. Clark, an executive with the Buchanan Printing Company of Philadelphia, and Mr. Charles S. Randall, an outstanding grower of dahlias and other flowers.  For the next eighteen years these three men were to lead the fledgling Trevose Horticultural Society in Pennsylvania… [learn more]

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Meetings are held the third Tuesday of each month at 7 PM at the Bensalem Senior Center, 1850 Byberry Road, Bensalem, PA.
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