If you don’t already know, the Ping Pong flower is actually a Chrysanthemum! Chrysanthemums are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the Asteraceae family. They are sometimes called mums or chrysanths. The name “Chrysanthemum” is derived from the Greek words chrysos (gold), and anthemon (flower).There are 40 wild species of chrysanthemums and thousands of varieties created via selective breeding. Some varieties of daisies bloom with a single row of petals around a central core, while others are ruffled and doubled. They look like pom-poms instead.
The Chrysanthemum flower was first cultivated from wild blossoms by the Chinese, the first breeding efforts date back to the 15th century BCand was used as an herbal remedy. Its boiled roots were believed to provide headache relief, and the sprouts and petals were eaten in salads.
From China, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan by Buddhist monks in AD 400. Soon after its introduction, the Japanese were so enamored by this beautiful flower that it was soon adopted as the emperor’s crest and official seal. “Kiku” is the Japanese name for chrysanthemum and every year there is a National Chrysanthemum Day which is also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.
In the 17th century, the chrysanthemum was introduced to Europe where Karl Linnaeus, the father of modern taxonomy, coined the Western name “chrysanthemum.”They’ve also been a part of landscaping in the U.S. since importation in 1798.The name ”chrysanthemum” was derived from the Greek words “chrysos” meaning gold, and “anthemon” meaning flower. Today they are also commonly referred to as “mums.”
Chrysanthemums generally symbolize longevity, fidelity, joy and optimism. Various colors symbolize other important meanings as well.
Since the chrysanthemum was first cultivated in China, the flower still holds deep cultural significance to this day, especially in art. The chrysanthemum is one of the Four Gentleman, which include the plum blossom, theorchid, and bamboo. These are the four main plants depicted in traditional Chinese watercolor paintings, and are derived from Confucianism.
In Japan, the official seal for the Imperial family is a chrysanthemum with 16 petals and is used for official government documents. In the military, the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is the most prestigious honor that can be awarded by the Emperor.