Comes from the Greek "krus anthemon" meaning gold flower. However nowadays they come in all colours, including bronze, lime green and brick red. For special events, they are even dyed blue.
Chrysanthemums are often referred to as "Mums" in the UK and come in a range of shapes and sizes, including spiders, spoons, buttons and blooms. Blooms are normal chrysanthemum varieties which have undergone intensive and specialised growing care. Instead of letting the plant produce side shoots which would bear flowers, all these shoots are removed, leaving only one central stem. This is then similarly treated so that only one flower bud remains. All the energy of the plant is directed into this bud which then grows to a huge size. Blooms come in many different forms, just like dahlias. Some are tight petaled, with all the petals curling upwards. Some have petals which curve and twist like a huge feather hat.
Relatives include chamomile, tansy, marguerite and matricaria.
Some countries (such as Malta) think it is unlucky to have the flower indoors. It is associated with funerals and All Saints Day. In Germany, people put white chrysanthemums in their homes at Christmas, to welcome baby Jesus. The chrysanthemum is an ancient national favourite of the Chinese and the Japanese, and the flower is depicted on Japan's imperial weapon and flag. Japan also has a national festival devoted to the flower (9th Sept)