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November is a month of transition, as the leaves begin to fall, and the chill of winter begins to set in. But, just as the season is changing, so too are the birth flowers for the month. Chrysanthemums and peonies are the birth flowers of November, and they’re both beautiful and meaningful choices for anyone looking to celebrate a special occasion or milestone.
In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these two flowers and their significance, as well as explore some creative ways to use them in your own celebrations. From their rich history to their symbolism and beauty, there’s a lot to love about chrysanthemums and peonies.
Chrysanthemums: What You Need to Know
Also known as mums, these blooms are members of the Asteraceae family and were originally native to Eastern Asia. The Chinese in particular loved mums so much that they named a city after them. They also used them in art and even dedicated an entire festival to the blossoms.
Although they came from Asia, chrysanthemums got their name from the Greeks who created the name from two terms, ‘chrysos’ meaning gold, and ‘anthemon’ meaning flower. It’s important to note, however, that mums aren’t always golden, but some come in red, white, purple, and blue hues.
- Chrysanthemums are native to Asia and northeastern Europe.
- In China, the chrysanthemum is a symbol of autumn, and the flowers are associated with longevity and rejuvenation.
- In Japan, the chrysanthemum is the symbol of the Imperial family and appears on the Imperial Seal of Japan.
- Chrysanthemums have been widely cultivated and hybridized, with many cultivars now available in a wide range of colors and forms, including single and double blooms, and various shapes and sizes.
- The Chrysanthemum is also known as mum or chrysanth.
Chrysanthemum Symbolism and Meaning
Chrysanthemums have different meanings depending on the culture in question. Some of these meanings include:
- Friendship - Chrysanthemums were presented as a sign of friendship in the Victorian era.
- Youth – This symbolism traces to the Chinese and the Japanese who believed that they help prevent graying of hair and elongate life. Mums are thereby presented to the elderly as a sign of good luck and a wish for long life. Moreover, it’s believed that if you drop a chrysanthemum petal at the bottom of a glass of wine, you will live a longer life.
- Royalty - Also borrowed from the Japanese, chrysanthemums are seen to represent nobility. For this reason, the flower is depicted in the Emperor’s crest and seal.
- Death and Sorrow– In some parts of Europe, these blossoms are used as an expression of mourning.
- Perfection – The orderly arrangement of chrysanthemum petals has seen them become a symbol of perfection. For this reason, the philosopher Confucius was known to use them for meditation.
Symbolism of Chrysanthemums According to Color
Apart from the general symbolism listed above, sometimes mums’ meaning is categorized according to color.
- Red – Love, passion, and a long life
- White - Innocence, honesty, loyalty, and purity
- Purple – Given to the sick as a wish to get well quicker
- Yellow- Slighted love, and a broken heart
- Pink: Wealth, prosperity, and good fortune
- Purple: Nobility and elegance
- Black: Death, mourning, and sorrow
It’s worth noting that some of these meanings may vary depending on the context and the culture, and different cultures may have different meanings for the same color.
Uses of Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum flowers have a variety of uses, both in traditional medicine and in everyday life. Some of the most common uses include:
- Medicinal: In traditional Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum flowers are believed to have a cooling effect on the body and are used to reduce fever, relieve headaches, and improve vision. Chrysanthemum tea is commonly consumed to promote overall wellness.
- Culinary: Chrysanthemum flowers are also used as a food ingredient, such as in tea, wine, and soups. They are also pickled and eaten as a side dish.
- Decorative: Chrysanthemums are popular flowers for gardens and as cut flowers. They are also used in floral arrangements and as a symbol of autumn.
- Aesthetic: Chrysanthemums are also used in beauty treatments, such as face masks and lotions, due to their anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cultural: In China and Japan, Chrysanthemums are symbols of autumn and longevity, and are associated with the Imperial family. They are also the birth flower for November.
- Industrial: Chrysanthemums are also used as a natural dye for fabrics and food products.
It’s worth noting that some of these uses may vary depending on the species of chrysanthemum, and some uses are more common in certain cultures than others.
Chrysanthemums are easy to grow and make a beautiful addition to any garden. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-draining soil. They can be planted in the spring or fall and should be spaced about 18 to 24 inches apart. Deadheading spent blooms will encourage reblooming.
Chrysanthemums require regular watering, especially during dry spells, and should be fertilized regularly with a balanced fertilizer. Pinching back the tips of the plants will encourage bushiness and more blooms.
Chrysanthemums can be propagated by taking stem cuttings in the summer. With proper care, they will bloom from late summer until frost.
Peony: What You Need to Know
Peonies are a popular flowering plant that belongs to the genus Paeonia. Peonies were originally native to Asia before being introduced to Europe at the end of the 18th century. They’re large and stunning flowers whose beauty was so adored that at some point they were strictly used only by emperors.
Peonies are found in many parts of the world, including China, Japan, Korea, and the Mediterranean region. They’re known for their large, showy flowers that come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, and yellow.
The Peony in Greek Mythology
Peonies are believed to have been named after Paeon, a Greek physician of the gods. According to Greek mythology, Paeon was a student of the god of medicine Asclepius and was able to heal gods and mortals alike. As a reward for his skills, the other gods protected him from the wrath of Asclepius, who was jealous of Paeon’s abilities.
As a sign of gratitude, Paeon was given the task of naming the flower that bears his name. The name “Paeonia” is derived from the name “Paeon” and was given to the flower as a tribute to his healing abilities. Another theory states that the name “Paeonia” comes from the name of the ancient kingdom of Paeonia, where the plant was found to be abundant.
Another theory for the origin of the name peony is that it was named after a nymph. According to Greek mythology, the nymph Paeonia was the mother of Asclepius, the god of medicine.
The story goes that the nymph was transformed into the peony flower by the gods, to honor her beauty and her son’s healing abilities. So, it’s said that the flower was named after the nymph, Paeonia, as a tribute to her beauty and her association with healing.
- The peony is the state flower of Indiana, USA.
- Peonies are also known as the “Queen of Flowers” and are associated with honor, wealth, and love.
- Peonies are perennials and can live for decades with proper care.
- Peonies have a large, fleshy root called a “crown” that can be used for medicinal purposes.
- Peonies come in many different forms, such as herbaceous, tree peonies, and intersectional peonies (Itoh Peonies)
Peony Meaning and Symbolism
Being a widely loved flower, the peony has attracted quite a lot of symbolism. Here’s a closer look:
- Luck – Peonies are associated with luck, both good and bad. A bush with a full bloom in even numbers is considered good luck while a bush with withered flowers in odd numbers is considered bad luck.
- Bashfulness – This symbolism derives from the Greek myth that associates the flower with the nymph, Paeonia.
- Honor and fortune – Because they were once restricted to emperors, peonies became a symbol of wealth. Moreover, their association with these meanings as well as a happy relationship, has made them the official 12th-anniversary flower.
Besides these general meanings, the symbolism of peonies also varies with color with white representing bashfulness, pink symbolizing prosperity and good luck, and red representing red, passion, and honor.
Peonies have a variety of uses, both in traditional medicine and in everyday life. Some of the most common uses include:
- Medicinal: In traditional Chinese medicine, the root of the peony is used to treat menstrual cramps, anxiety, and certain skin conditions. Peony root extract is also used to treat various ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and hypertension.
- Culinary: Peony petals are edible and can be used in salads, tea, and as a food colorant.
- Decorative: Peonies are popular ornamental plants known for their large, showy flowers that come in a variety of colors, including white, pink, red, and yellow. They are highly valued for their beauty and are often used in gardens, parks, and as cut flowers.
- Aesthetic: Peonies are also used in beauty treatments, such as face masks, lotions, and perfumes due to their fragrant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cultural: Peonies are considered a symbol of prosperity, good fortune, and a happy marriage in Chinese culture. They are also the state flower of Indiana in the United States.
- Industrial: Peonies are also used as a natural dye for fabrics and food products.
Peonies take well to well-drained soils and full sun. However, their buds require a bit of colder weather to form fully, thus making them fit for winter.
Since different varieties take different amounts of time to blossom while planting, ensure you make a blend of early, mid, and late bloomers so as to stretch the amount of time you will get to enjoy these gorgeous luck bringers.
Birth Flower Gift Ideas for November Babies
1. Japanese Chrysanthemum Bronze Sculpture
This rare find has a very detailed engraving bringing out the beauty of the flower. It makes for a unique and beautiful decoration for your space of choice.
2. White Chrysanthemum Tea
The crushed leaves of the white chrysanthemum make a herbaceous and floral-tasting tea. What’s better to enjoy on your birthday than an infusion of your birth flower?
Drinking chrysanthemum tea is also believed to have a cooling effect on the body and can be used to reduce fever and relieve headaches, making it a soothing and healthy choice for a new mother.
3. Chrysanthemum Floral Napkin Rings
These napkin ring holders come in an array of beautiful colors including pink, emerald, red, purple, blue, and yellow. The whole ensemble makes a very impressive dining accessory that the November baby in your life will be proud to show off every chance they get.
4. Blooming Peony Soy Candle Set
Birth flower candles make for a thoughtful and unique gift idea as they combine the significance of birth flowers with the ambiance and relaxation of candlelight. They can also serve as a reminder of special occasions and milestones. These decorative and very sweet-smelling candles are curved in the image of peonies making them the perfect gift for anyone born in November.
5. Peony Desk Pad & Keyboard Mat
Thinking of getting the November baby in your life a gift they’re likely to see every day? These desk pads with prints of the gorgeous flower of emperors would make a great choice. Not only are they beautiful, but they’re also extremely useful gifts.
November Birth Flowers FAQs
The chrysanthemum is associated with death in Japan because it blooms in autumn and is often used in funerals.
No, Chrysanthemum is not the Scorpio flower. The Scorpio birth flower is the Narcissus.
Chrysanthemums can bloom multiple times, depending on the variety and growth conditions. Some are perennials and will bloom year after year.
Peonies are hardy plants and can grow in many regions, but they prefer cool climates with well-draining soil and full sun to partial shade.
The lifespan of chrysanthemums depends on the variety and how they are grown, some varieties are perennials and can survive the winter, while others are annuals and will not survive the cold temperatures.
The chrysanthemum and peony are both beautiful and meaningful flowers that are associated with the month of November. Whether you choose to give a bouquet of chrysanthemums or peonies or combine them in a stunning arrangement, these November birth flowers are sure to bring joy and happiness to anyone who receives them.
July Birth Flowers: Delphinium and Water Lily