What is Anti-Chrysanthemumism?

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In Australia the Chryssy is quite popular and especially holds favour as a Mother’s Day gift. I assume that the reason for this is that the word “mum” is found in Chrysanthemum. Every year, when Mother’s day rolls around, thousands of cut and potted Chryssys are sold around Australia to be presented to Mums. It has become a huge tradition. Despite the overwhelming numbers sold, I keep finding people that, at the mere mention of Chryssys, will exclaim that they are their least favourite flower. When a few people told me they hate Chrysanthemums I felt compelled to explore the issue further. What can make people feel so negatively about these rather innocent looking flowers?

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It may, or may not, be a surprise to you that this sentiment is not at all new. People in Europe have been sharing these ill feelings towards Chryssys for a very long time. I found mention of an article written in 1892 by C.S. Sargent that describes the wane of popularity of Chrysanthemums in society. Today, across Europe, Chrysanthemums are the most common flowers taken to cemeteries and have a very strong association with death. In France, for example, it could be offensive, to bring them to a dinner party as a gift.

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It is commonly thought that they are easy and inexpensive flowers to grow and buy. This is not necessarily a good thing though, as it can lower the perceived value of the flowers and they can become less desirable. Things that are considered easy and common, in society, are also often considered inferior. If this feeling grows and becomes wide-spread, it could become almost insulting to give Chryssys as a gift. However, it appears that Chrysanthemums have plenty of avid supporters in some of the biggest markets in the world.

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The Chinese have been growing and enjoying Chryssys for 2,500 years and the Japanese are obviously huge fans as the Chrysanthemum has been their national flower for the last thousand years. If the Japanese and Chinese think they are great then I’m sure their future is bright.

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