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Chrysanthemum Is Japan's Favorite Flower
Chrysanthemum Is Japan's Favorite Flower

Video: Chrysanthemum Is Japan's Favorite Flower

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Video: Chrysanthemums in Japan Japanology 2023, February

A brief excursion into the history of chrysanthemums

"If you want to be happy all your life - grow chrysanthemums"


The first association that arises when this flower is mentioned is a bitter cold wormwood aroma, radiant or spherical inflorescences of various shades of white, yellow, greenish, pink, brownish red, cherry and others.

Chrysanthemum is one of the most ancient flower cultures. The first written mention of it was found in the work of the Chinese philosopher of antiquity Confucius "Spring and Autumn", written more than 2.5 thousand years ago.

Confucius wrote: "They are full of yellow splendor." From this it follows that at that time there were flowers with golden inflorescences, which were most often used for food and for treatment. More precisely, there is no data on the time of the first cultural forms. But there is still some information.

Scientists believe that the first white cultivar was created by the Chinese grower Dao Hong-chzhen, who lived in the late 5th and early 6th centuries.

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It is believed that more than three thousand varieties of chrysanthemums are now cultivated in China, most of which have bizarrely curved long reed flowers. In China, the chrysanthemum is considered the second favorite flower after the peony, and the ninth month of the Chinese year is named after it. The ninth day of this month is also dedicated to chrysanthemum. Torn off that day, it possesses, according to popular belief, magical power.


The flower processed with resin provided a remedy against old age. The Chinese prepared a delicious dessert from chrysanthemum flowers, which was served not only in restaurants, but also in private homes. The fresh flower was thoroughly washed, the petals were separated from each other and dipped in a mixture of beaten eggs and flour, then, taking out their batter, they were quickly dipped in boiling oil, laid out on paper for half a minute to absorb oil, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served.

The second homeland of chrysanthemum is Japan, where the plants got in the 4th century. (Some researchers believe that everything was the other way around: from Japan, flowers came to China.) The natural conditions of this country turned out to be so favorable that there was a powerful "breakthrough" in the distribution and selection of chrysanthemums. Here she was called "kiku" - the flower of the sun, and soon she became the national flower of the country.

As a symbol of power, already in the XII century, the chrysanthemum was engraved on the saber blade of the Mikado emperor, who reigned at that time. In 1496, a book was published in Kyoto describing more than 10 varieties of chrysanthemums, which differed sharply from each other in flower shape and color. There was no color printing at that time, so the color of the varieties was described in words. Japanese chrysanthemums have very poetic names: Morning Dawn, Evening Sunset, Northern Downpour, Misty Morning, Lion's Mane, Shine of the Sword and others.


By the end of the 18th century, images of chrysanthemums were not only on coins, stamps, but also in the national emblem and the highest order of Japan. Chrysanthemum drawings adorned the most expensive fabrics and porcelain. Clothes made of these fabrics could be worn exclusively by members of the imperial family. Violation of this law by ordinary mortals was punishable by death. Any attempt to depict the emblem of the Japanese Empire and the imperial power was punishable by death.

The state depicted chrysanthemums on banknotes to prevent counterfeiting. Antique stamps with chrysanthemums were of great value to collectors. It was known that only the symbolic chrysanthemum with 16 petals (golden flower) enjoyed government protection. There were craftsmen who perfectly reproduced a whole series of old postage stamps, but depicted flowers on them with only 15 and 14 petals, for which they could not be punished. Thus, collections of "old" stamps were sold for very good money.

The first illustrated catalog of these flowers was published in Japan in 1736. At the end of the 19th century, the Society of Chrysanthemum Lovers was created, which directs all work on the selection, introduction, popularization of knowledge and the distribution of chrysanthemums in the country.

Experts believe that nowhere in the world has their culture reached such a high level as in Japan, where more than 10 thousand varieties of a wide variety of colors and shapes are now grown.

The first exhibition of chrysanthemums was also held in Japan at the beginning of the 19th century, and later a traditional annual holiday - Chrysanthemum Day - emerged, which still exists today.

In different countries, chrysanthemum has its own symbolic meaning. So, in Vietnam, she personifies spiritual purity and clarity of mind, in China - wisdom and longevity, in Japan - happiness, success, luck, in France and Italy - mourning. In Europe, chrysanthemums are not so much for bouquets and ornaments as a symbol of deep silent sadness. Therefore, they are often called the flowers of the dead.

Chrysanthemums came to Europe (Holland) only at the end of the 17th century, but soon, unfortunately, they died. Therefore, it is believed that the beginning of the spread of chrysanthemums in European countries was in 1789, when the first three Chinese varieties with white, dark red and purple chamomile inflorescences were brought first to France, then to England.

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In 1829, Berne, a Toulouse gardener, began experiments in breeding chrysanthemums from seeds, and received new interesting varieties. His example was taken up by other gardeners, and already in the 50s of the XIX century, about 300 varieties of this amazing flower appeared. As is often the case, new items soon became the most fashionable colors. New varieties created in the countries of the East are also spreading rapidly. Active research and breeding work began, as a result of which varieties of European breeding appeared.

The recognized "father of chrysanthemums" in Europe is considered the Englishman John Salter, who in 1865 published a book, which first described the methods of its cultivation and selection methods. As the chrysanthemum blooms in late autumn and winter, it has become especially prized. Annually in London, Paris, Germany in the fall they began to organize exhibitions of chrysanthemums, where they paid big money for the most original varieties.

They are very fond of chrysanthemums in England, where it is difficult to find a garden without this flower. Flowers tolerate English fogs well and bloom until the first frost. Artists paint still lifes, landscapes with chrysanthemums (Auguste Renoir - "Flowers in a Vase", Denis Miller Bunker - "Chrysanthemums", Edgar Degas - "Lady with Chrysanthemums", Claude Monet - "Chrysanthemums", etc.)

It was also the turn of Russia to get acquainted with chrysanthemums: the first message about them appeared in the magazine "Gardening" in 1844. Already in the late XIX - early XX centuries. more than 100 varieties could be seen in private greenhouses of wealthy people, in the famous parks "Sofiyivka", "Alexandria" (in the south of the country). Later, large farms in the Petersburg and Moscow provinces began to grow chrysanthemums.

After 1917, the work on the introduction of ornamental plants, including chrysanthemums, was headed by the All-Union Institute of Plant Industry (VIR) under the leadership of Academician N.I. Vavilov. Since 1940, in the Main Botanical Garden of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, under the leadership of N. Krasnova, work began on the breeding of domestic varieties of chrysanthemums for growing in the open ground of the middle zone.

Read the next part of the article: Annual chrysanthemums: varieties and cultivation →

Read all parts of the article "Chrysanthemum - Japan's favorite flower":

• Part 1: A brief excursion into the history of chrysanthemums

• Part 2: Annual chrysanthemums: varieties and cultivation

• Part 3: Perennial chrysanthemums: varieties and cultivation

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