The primary birth flower for November is the gorgeous golden Chrysanthemum and some say the pretty Peony is the second birth flower.
November Birth Flower: Chrysanthemum
The birthday flower of November is the Chrysanthemum of the genus of the same name. Chrysanthemums are native to Asia and northeastern Europe where they start blooming in early fall.
The name is derived from Greek words meaning 'gold flower' and wild chrysanthemum flowers are indeed yellow. However there are also many cultivated varieties in colors of white, purple and red.
The center of diversity is China where chrysanthemums are prevalent in many traditions. This flower also features in many Japanese customs and is one of the national flowers of Japan.
In the United States the chrysanthemum is the official flower for the cities of Chicago and Salinas.
In Australia, chrysanthemums bloom in May in the southern hemisphere and are given to mothers on Mothers Day.
The language of flowers introduced in Victorian times says that chrysanthemums symbolize cheerfulness and love.
November Birth Flower: Peony
Some sources list the Peony is as a second flower for November.
Peonies are a group of about 30 flowering plants and originate in Asia, Europe and western North America. Colors range from purples, reds, yellows and white with more colors in the many cultivated varieties. Peonies flower in late spring to early summer in the Northern Hemisphere, so it is a bit unclear why they are listed as a November flower.
The Greek origin of the word Peony is linked to Paeon, a Greek god of medicine, possibly in reference to the plant's medicinal use.
Birth flower reference: Floriography Today by S. Theresa Dietz
This interesting article covers the fascinating history of November's flower the Chrysanthemum.
The Rich History of Chrysanthemums
Did you know that those lush, colorful blooms called chrysanthemums are rooted in beliefs of human immortality and perfection? Today the "mum" graces gardens, cut flower arrangements and even salads (yes mums taste great), but they were taken much more seriously after T'ao Yuan Ming started it all in China around 500 A.D.
Over long periods of careful cross-pollination and selection, he developed stunning varieties of the flower and when he died, his birthplace was renamed Chuhsien The City of Chrysanthemums. His efforts had produced a legacy that would bring pleasure to this world for centuries.
When China imported the first chrysanthemums to Japan, the people there bestowed many honors upon them. The Japanese wrote legends. To sip dew from the petals meant long life. To eat the flower meant immortality. Philosophers said that the systematic opening of the "ray" flowers symbolized both the sun and the perfection of orderly life.
By 800 A.D. the chrysanthemum had become so prestigious that only royal and noble families were permitted to cultivate it. Among the highest honors that could be bestowed in Japan was admittance to the Order of the Chrysanthemum... a reward granted to nobility for service to the Emperor.
In great contrast to this, the "mum" didn't make much of an impression when traders introduced it to Europe in the 1600s. But when in finally did catch on, it became one of the most popular blooms for both flower shops and gardens.
Today the mum comes in dozens of varieties. Fuji mums project rays with curly ends. Spider mums have straight-ended rays. Starburst mums have forked ends, while spoon-ended mums have a loop at the end of their rays. China mums are called "standard" and "football" because of their large, round heads. Daisy-like mums are called pompons. And those forming tight little balls are called button pomps.
Whether associated with spoons, forks or footballs, or with royalty or immortality, "mum" is the word for beautiful gardens and long-lasting floral arrangements. When you care for them as cut flowers, try to keep their ancient beauty away from such modern-day contraptions as air conditioning, TV sets and heaters. Don't place them in drafts or direct sunlight. Do watch their water, and replace it when needed. This way, a bouquet of mums can make your day every day for at least a week, maybe two.
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