Mayor Richard J. Daley called the chrysanthemum, “a very beautiful flower.” His resolution to make the chrysanthemum the official flower of Chicago was adopted by the city council on June 17, 1966 and they have been synonymous with Chicago ever since. But the story of the chrysanthemum goes back much further than half of a century.
The chrysanthemum is originally from China. It is found in ancient Chinese texts dating back to the 15th century B.C. The flower, which they then called “Chu,” was so revered in China that they named a city after it: Chu-Hsien.
In the 8th century, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan where it became the crest and official seal of the emperor and remains popular today.
The flower was first introduced to the western world by famous Swedish botanist Karl Linnaeus, who named it “chrysanthemum” by combining the Ancient Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower).
Chrysanthemums first appeared in the United States during colonial times and are now the most widely grown pot plant in the United States. They are also popularly used as a corsage for homecoming or prom.
Health & Medicinal Uses
In Japan, putting a single chrysanthemum petal at the bottom of your wine glass is thought to increase lifespan and improve health. Also in the practice of Feng Shui, chrysanthemums bring happiness and laughter into the home.
Looking at western uses, chrysanthemums are known to reduce air pollution, which, combined with being perennials, is why they are often used in urban landscaping. Taken internally often in the form of a tea, they are believed to reduce blood pressure, and help with colds, headaches, and fevers.
Culture And Symbolism
Chrysanthemum symbolism varies in different cultures but here in the United States are often used to symbolize love, optimism, joy, friendship, longevity, and fidelity.
Chicago’s official flower provides the namesake for John Steinbeck’s 1937 short story “The Chrysanthemums,” which was made into a short film in 1990 by Pyramid Films. The Chrysanthemums is also the name of a British band popular in the Europe during the 1990s.
Chrysanthemums is the title of a painting by 19th century French artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir and can be seen on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Where To See Chrysanthemums In Chicago
As it is the official city flower, it can indeed be seen throughout the city, especially in the fall when they bloom, so keep your eyes open. But one of the best places to see chrysanthemums is to make a trip to the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Where To Buy Chrysanthemums In Chicago
It is always a good idea to show a loved one you care–and if you recall the symbolism section above, you can deliver a lovely, meaningful message to your significant other by giving them chrysanthemums.
There are many of good places across Chicago to purchase chrysanthemums. Here of good florists around town that are known to have chrysanthemums on hand:
City Scents — E. Ohio Street
Chicago Flower Company — W. Chicago Avenue
Bud’s Flowers — W. 63rd Street
Hyde Park Florist — E. 55th Street
Kelly’s Flower Shop — Jackson Boulevard
Leo’s Metropolitan Florist — E. 71st Street
Athena Flowers — W. Addison Street
Crystal Flower Shop — S. Kedzie Avenue
Steve’s Flower Market — W. Grand Avenue
Flora Chicago — N. Southport Avenue
Just like Chicago, the chrysanthemum is beautiful, vibrant, and has a rich history. It is the perfect flower for our city.