November's birth flower is the chysanthemum, also known as mums. Few flowers are more popular than chrysanthemums. The timeless “mum,” as it’s affectionately known, is beloved worldwide for its sheer beauty. Among those who celebrate their birthday in November, however, the bloom has an even deeper meaning: it’s the birth flower for the month.
Available in many different colors, the mum is symbolic of many different traits and emotions. It’s a core part of the daisy floral family, making it a sibling of other equally beautiful flowers like coneflowers and asters. While it’s customary to celebrate fall with the lovely mum, the flower grows and thrives year-round.
Evidence of the first known chrysanthemum in history dates from the 15th century BC when it was cultivated in China. At the time, the flowering herb was used primarily for culinary purposes. It was sprinkled onto salads and brewed for piping hot cups of tea. It was considered a life-giving flower and was often used to provide relief for different ailments, such as headaches.
Eventually, the chrysanthemum found its way to Japan sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries AD. At the time, the Japanese people found inspiration in many aspects of Chinese culture. Among the many elements they adopted was a fondness for the mum in all its glory.
So important was the flower to Japan that it was eventually thought of as something of a royal symbol. This status was solidified when the country’s emperor sanctioned the mum as both the official seal and royal crest. The mum was even awarded to those who fought for Japan in combat. In fact, the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, as it is known, is considered the highest honor one can receive. Its exclusivity is obvious: The award has only been given to six individuals from Japan, aside from members of the royal family.
The country also celebrates National Chrysanthemum Day with great fanfare each year. The very first program was held in 910 AD, and it’s taken place annually in September since then. The occasion is also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.
The chrysanthemum is equally special for its deep meaning. It symbolizes honesty, devotion, loyalty, love, passion, and positivity. Because it touches on such a variety of emotions, it’s particularly well-suited to a variety of different holidays and occasions. People around the world often give mums for varied reasons.
For example, in China, it’s often given to elderly individuals as a sign of respect and to deliver wishes of good luck. By contrast, it’s traditionally given on Mother’s Day in Australia because of their “mum” moniker. In the Buddhist faith, the mum is considered a powerful symbol of strong, positive energy.
At the same time, and like so many other flowers, different chrysanthemum colors denote different meanings altogether. The flower you choose to give may convey a very specific meaning.
The beauty of the mum is that it’s incredibly versatile. A simple arrangement featuring a single color is always a day-brightening option for the November birthday baby, but there are other ways to incorporate it into one’s surroundings.
If you’d like to present someone with a creative option, try a mixed arrangement featuring a medley of different colors instead. The effect is at once elegant and striking — and there’s nothing more timeless than the beloved mum. The Autumn Garden is a fantastic choice that features the season’s most beautiful colors.
Another way to easily make mums an integral part of the home in November is to add them to a centerpiece. Tables look far more elegant and festive when they’re topped with a bevy of vivacious, seasonal flowers. What speaks to the season’s beauty better than the lovely mum? The Fall Centerpiece displays that showy star power in all its glory, incorporating other stems for an interesting and textural take that’s sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face.
Many people enjoy decorating their porches for fall, too. Adding a few lush, rich colors is an easy way to lend the home a distinctive appearance during the coolest months of the year — and to brighten things up during a period when dark skies and dramatic tones are the norm. Mums are instant day-brighteners and mood-boosters, so you can only imagine what kind of joy they’ll bring to a loved one’s doorstep. Try Double The Crispin to deliver maximum impact with fresh colors like peach, red, and ivory.
Mums have an old-world appeal about them — fitting, given their rich history — so they also happen to look right at home nestled in vintage containers and vessels. You could please a bouquet in a retro-inspired vase, gather them in a basket, or place them in an iron container for a different kind of impact. No matter how they’re displayed, the flowers will have a powerful impact thanks to their combination of color and texture.
As the year comes to a close, the weather grows cooler, and skies become darker, it’s more important than ever to embrace those bright moments of light — especially when they come in the form of radiant chrysanthemums. For the November celebrant in your life, there’s no better way to honor them and express how much they mean to you.