The chrysanthemum is not only a lovely, fragrant flower but is also steeped in meaning all over the world. In Japan, it is a blossom that symbolizes longevity and rejuvenation and is referred to as “Kiku.” It is so popular in the Asian country that it even graces the Imperial Seal of Japan and is the symbol of the Emperor. The color of the chrysanthemum affects the flower’s meaning: a white one is a symbol of loyalty and devoted love; it is especially symbolic if someone gives the chrysanthemum as a gift for this is a symbol of devoted love while a yellow blossom signifies neglected love or sorrow. The chrysanthemum is a member of the Asteraceae family and, if tended to properly, a potted flower will bloom year after year.
Most people associate chrysanthemums or “mums” as a sign that autumn is approaching while others, mostly in Western countries, see it also as a sign of mourning. The blossom has become associated with this meaning because it is popularly planted at gravesites (this might be because, not only are they hardy blooms that come back annually and perennially, but, they contain a chemical called pyrethrum that helps to repel most bugs) and is also prevalently used in funeral floral arrangements. D.H. Lawrence’s 1909 short story Odour of Chrysanthemums uses the flower to symbolize the end of love within a marriage while, in England, it is a popular anniversary gift for wives from their husbands. The chrysanthemum got its name from a Swedish botanist who was inspired by the Greek word “chrysos” meaning gold and “anthemon” meaning flower.
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