My favorite season is autumn, my favorite month October. How convenient then that in October my favorite flower comes into bloom. Oh, what perfect flowers these are. Colors so pure and vibrant. So handsomely formed, in so many shapes and sizes. Chrysanthemums have a fragrance that I find stimulating, never sweet or flamboyant. No perfume was ever crafted with chrysanthemum high notes, although pyrethrum is derived from the dried flowers of chrysanthemums and is used as an organic pesticide.
The chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China about the 15th Century B.C. The Chinese valued the mum for its medicinal and culinary uses. They used the roots, which they boiled for a headache remedy and the young sprouts and flower petals for salads.
The Japanese brought chrysanthemums into wide cultivation and have guided the popularity of the mum round the world by their superb breeding and cultivation techniques. The official seal of the Japanese royal family contains a chrysanthemum, and modern Japanese celebrate a National Chrysanthemum Day, also known as the Festival of Happiness.
After its introduction to the West, around 1750, gardeners in Europe started hybridizing the Asian chrysanthemum bringing into existence the large, showy, colorful flowering plants we know today.