Welcome to the latest post in the birth flowers series, looking at the flowers assigned to each month of the year. This time we’re looking at the birth flowers for November and their meanings.
For some history on the origins of birth month flowers, take a look at my first post in the series.
One of the most widely grown flowers in the world, chrysanthemums or ‘mums’ are members of the daisy family. Chrysanthemums originate from Asia and northeastern Europe and their name comes from the Greek words “chrysos” meaning gold, and “anthemon” meaning flower.
For me, chrysanthemums are synonymous with allotments and horticultural shows. Growing up on my dad’s allotment, I remember all the plotholders grew them and there was much friendly competition around the time of the local flower show. Fast-forward to today and it’s a very similar picture at my allotment now, with the older generation still very fond of this traditional flower. Having said this, there are a huge amount of chrysanthemum flower varieties to choose from, many of which look nothing like those big blousy blossoms from my childhood. As well as pom-poms there are simple daisy-like blooms, spiky-petalled varieties and even spindly ‘quill’ flowers, which makes them a perfectly acceptable modern flower to gift.
The general meaning of chrysanthemums is friendship, optimism and joy, however as with many flowers, the meaning can vary according to their colour. Red blooms signify love, white signify purity and pure love, and yellow signify unrequited love.
Interestingly, despite being the birth flower for November, chrysanthemums are traditionally given on Mother’s Day in March. I guess such a popular and widely-grown flower can easily come to represent more than one celebration.
For the first time in this series there is only one flower that represents the month, but there’s such a breadth of styles to choose from that it’s not hard to find a chrysanthemum to perfectly suit the recipient. Writing this I realise I’ve previously had a rather narrow view of chrysanthemums; from now on I’ll be exploring the wide variety that they offer and not just dismissing them as old-fashioned and belonging to the petrol station forecourt. How about you?