It’s time for one of nature’s more varied flowers to make its stand on nature’s stage. Clusters of handsome flowers, smiling in the sun, are doing their best to use showy displays of color to lure passing pollinators.
The chrysanthemum’s story emerged out of the mists of Asia’s past. Scholars of old decreed it proper to give the flower a fitting name, so they joined the word chrysos, meaning gold, and anthos, signifying flower, thus distinguishing autumn’s Golden Queen as the chrysanthemum.
Today, these queens have many relatives, with spectacular blossom variations, ranging from tiny daisy-like flowers of less than an inch to the giant pompons measuring over 4 inches, clad in spectacular varieties of color.
From the plant lover’s perspective, a convenient feature of these strong, old-fashioned flowers is that they don’t demand much pampering, and it’s popular for many small communities to celebrate “mums” festivals. But perhaps the chrysanthemum’s most valuable feature is its ability to control annoying insects. From the chrysanthemum seed, one of the least toxic pesticides, pyrethrum, is derived. It can ward off even the obnoxious bloodsucking mosquito and the biting gnat.
No other flower that wears the gold of autumn can make such a bold and welcome claim.