Originating in China as a daisy-like wild plant, the popular fall flower chrysanthemum, or mum, was named from the Greek word chrysos (gold) and anthos (flower).
"A chrysanthemum by any other name would be easier to spell," remarked writer William J. Johnston.
The ancient Chinese considered the chrysanthemum the highest of flowers and believed that the dew that collected on the flower's leaves promoted longevity.
Chinese herbalists prepared the dried yellow flower as an internal cure for headaches and the flu, and also as an external compress to cure conjunctivitis (pink eye).
In 400 AD the Zen Buddhists took the mum to Japan where it eventually became the national flower, the symbol of the Mikado. The rising sun is actually a 16-petaled chrysanthemum and the Imperial Order of the Chrysanthemum is the highest rank of chivalry in Japan.
Many believe the flower strengthens the overall life force. Traditionally, the gift of a chrysanthemum represented long-lasting friendship, cheerfulness, and optimism. Called the "Queen of Autumn," the mum celebrates every color but blue.
The flower's autumn blooms complement the red, orange, and gold leaves that rain down around them.
Each flower is something of the marvelous.