Chrysanthemum

mum1

Seems like everywhere I look this year, there are beautiful Mum plants.  Lots of my neighbors have them, and many businesses.  I’m amazed at how huge they are, and how they are smothered with blossoms.  In my own yard, I have two Mums, but they are more modest size.  They were on sale at the end of the season a year or two ago and I planted them outside late in the fall.  I learned later that you should plant them early in the year, so they have time to establish themselves before winter.  Mums are so abundant in the fall, I never really think to plant them in the spring.  That’s probably why they are not as enormous as they could be, but they’re still very pretty.

mum2Chrysanthemum is a herbaceous perennial which blooms late in the season, up until the first hard frost.  The name comes from the Greek, chrysos (gold) and anthos (flower).  Mums come in almost every color except blue, and in many different forms such as pompon, button, spider, cushion, daisy-like and spoon-petal.  They can be divided into two groups, hardy and exhibition.  Hardy is just what you’d think, they live through the winter, don’t need staking and aren’t bothered by the weather. Exhibition Mums are more high maintenance.  They need a lot more care, and can’t just be left outside, they have to be pampered.

Most people know that Mum is the common name for Chrysanthemum.  Less common knowledge is the fact that Chrysanthemums were cultivated in China as long ago as the 15th century BC.  Or that in Asia, the yellow and white Mum flowers are boiled to make a sweet drink, which is given to people recovering from the flu.  The leaves can be steamed or boiled, as they do in China.  One species, Pyrethrum, is a source of natural insectide that stops mosquitoes from biting.

I don’t eat my Mums, or use them for medicine, but it sure is nice to see that spot of color in my mostly brown yard right now.

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One Response to “Chrysanthemum”

  1. Kem Says:

    I had a very nice lavender mum that I planted in late summer. Note the past tense. One lab mix chasing a tennis ball can destroy mums very quickly…and nasturtiums…and small forsythia bushes…good thing Eddy is cute!

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