Flower Meanings

Chrysanthemum Meaning and Symbolism

Chrysanthemum Meaning

The cheerful and vibrant chrysanthemum, often called a “mum,” is a popular flower with a rich history and diverse symbolism. Understanding the meaning of chrysanthemum goes beyond their colorful blooms; it’s a journey across cultures and traditions.

Origin of Chrysanthemum Flowers

Chrysanthemums originated in East Asia, with cultivation records dating back to 15th century BC China. Their name comes from the Greek words “chrysos” (gold) and “anthemon” (flower), referencing the flower’s golden color that was prevalent in early varieties.

In the verdant valleys of ancient China, the story of the chrysanthemum began. A flower of humble origins, it was not the complex blossom we admire today but a simpler, golden-hued wildflower. Its beauty caught the eye of the esteemed philosopher Confucius, who, in his writings, celebrated its elegance and simplicity.

As centuries passed, the chrysanthemum became a cherished emblem of Chinese culture. Gardeners, inspired by its natural allure, began to cultivate it with great care, leading to the creation of numerous exquisite varieties. Also these flowers were more than mere plants; they were symbols of autumn’s grace and the passing of time, deeply embedded in the fabric of Chinese traditions.

The chrysanthemum’s charm eventually traversed the seas, reaching the shores of Japan. However there, it captivated the hearts of the Japanese people, ascending to a status of imperial significance. It adorned the Emperor’s crest and became intertwined with the identity of the royal family, a testament to its esteemed place in the nation’s culture.

As the winds of trade and exploration blew, the chrysanthemum sailed across oceans to the Western World. Though it seems as if they have always graced gardens from coast to coast, these flowers only made their debut in the United States in the late 18th century. Since then, they have flourished, becoming a beloved feature of American horticulture.

Thus, from its modest beginnings in East Asia, the chrysanthemum has blossomed into a global icon, cherished for its diverse beauty and rich history.

Chrysanthemum Meanings Around the World

meaning of chrysanthemum

The meaning of chrysanthemums varies greatly depending on the culture:


In Australia, chrysanthemums symbolize respect and gratitude. Also It is traditionally given on Mother’s Day for its connotation of respect and honor.


Here, chrysanthemums are primarily associated with cemeteries and mourning. However Belgians associate chrysanthemums with All Saints’ Day and often use them to honor the memory of loved ones.

Buddhist Monks

For Buddhist monks, chrysanthemums represent purity and longevity. Also Buddhist monks brew chrysanthemum tea to aid meditation, attributing to it the chrysanthemum spiritual meaning of clarity and purity of thought.


In China, chrysanthemums hold a place of honor, symbolizing longevity, happiness, and good fortune. However it is a noble flower, symbolizing autumn and the virtue of withstanding adversities.

Great Britain

Victorians in Great Britain used chrysanthemums to convey friendship and well wishes. They have long included chrysanthemums in their gardens for their late blooming season and vibrant colors.


Japan reveres the chrysanthemum as its national flower, representing the Emperor and longevity. White chrysanthemums, however, can also symbolize grief. Also Japan celebrates the chrysanthemum during the Festival of Happiness, and it is the symbol of chrysanthemum for the Imperial House of Japan.

United States

In the United States, chrysanthemums are generally associated with joy, happiness, and well-being. Also the U.S. recognizes the chrysanthemum as the birth flower for November, embodying cheerfulness and love.

Victorian Era

During the Victorian era, the specific color of a chrysanthemum held more significance than the flower itself (more on that later). They used chrysanthemums to communicate support and friendship, a practice stemming from the flower’s symbolism chrysanthemum of joy and optimism.

The Colors and Symbolism

chrysanthemum symbolism

Each chrysanthemum color carries its own unique meaning:

Green Chrysanthemum Meaning

Green chrysanthemums symbolize envy or good health. However in countries like Australia, green chrysanthemums can be used to express envy in a lighthearted way, perhaps directed at someone’s success or happiness.

Blue Chrysanthemum Meaning

While uncommon, blue chrysanthemums flower that represents peace, tranquility, and wisdom. They are a unique choice for bouquets and can be found at flower shops specializing in rare blooms.

Red Chrysanthemum Meaning

Red chrysanthemums symbolize passionate love and deep affection. They are perfect for expressing your feelings to someone special, particularly in countries like China where red is associated with good luck and celebration.

Purple Chrysanthemum Meaning

Purple chrysanthemums denote royalty, luxury, and wisdom. In Europe, these regal blooms are often used in high-end flower arrangements.

Pink Chrysanthemum Meaning

Pink chrysanthemums convey gentleness, affection, and admiration. They’re a popular choice for bouquets expressing sympathy or congratulations, especially in the United States.

White Chrysanthemum Meaning

White chrysanthemums traditionally symbolize purity, innocence, and reverence. However, in some cultures, they can also be associated with mourning (like in Japan). They are suitable for weddings in many cultures but can also hold connotations of grief in some countries like Japan.

Yellow Chrysanthemum Meaning

Yellow chrysanthemums can represent neglected love, sorrow, or disappointment. Also their meaning can vary depending on the context, but they are generally avoided in celebratory bouquets.

Black Chrysanthemum Meaning

Black chrysanthemums, though rare, symbolize grief, death, or condolence. In Western cultures, black flowers are typically associated with mourning, and chrysanthemums are no exception.

Orange Chrysanthemum Meaning

Orange chrysanthemums express enthusiasm, joy, and creativity. However they are a bright and cheerful choice for celebrations or to simply bring a burst of sunshine to someone’s day. Also Orange chrysanthemums are particularly popular in countries with vibrant festival traditions.

Chrysanthemum Proper Occasions

meaning of chrysanthemums

Due to the diverse chrysanthemum symbolism, their appropriate use depends on the occasion:

  • Brightly colored chrysanthemums are perfect for birthdays, celebrations, or to express general well wishes.
  • White chrysanthemums are suitable for weddings or funerals, depending on the cultural context.
  • Red chrysanthemums make a romantic gesture.

Tip: When giving chrysanthemums, consider the recipient’s cultural background to ensure your message is understood correctly.

Chrysanthemum Plant Uses

Beyond their symbolic value, chrysanthemums have various practical uses:

  • Certain chrysanthemum varieties are used to make chrysanthemum tea, a popular beverage in East Asia.
  • Chrysanthemum extracts are used in some beauty products.
  • In some cultures, chrysanthemums are even cultivated for their edible flowers.

Characteristics of the Chrysanthemum Flower

Chrysanthemums are known for their:

  • Long bloom time: They can flower throughout fall and even into early winter.
  • Variety of colors and shapes: Chrysanthemums come in a dazzling array of colors and bloom shapes, from single to densely petaled.
  • Resilience: These adaptable flowers can thrive in various climates.

Understanding the meaning of chrysanthemums adds depth to appreciating these beautiful and versatile flowers. So, the next time you see a chrysanthemum, consider the message it might be conveying.

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