Chrysanthemums have been the stars of Como’s fall flower show for nearly a century. But the long history of this hearty autumn bloomer goes back much farther.

Can’t get enough of this colorful autumn? Extend leaf-peeping season with a visit to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Fall Flower Show, open every day through November 28. The second half of this season’s Sunken Garden display features a golden and glowing palette of autumnal orange, yellow and white chrysanthemums, and vibrant sunflowers.

Coming to see the fall colors at Como has been a Minnesota tradition for more than a century. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, which marked its 106th anniversary this month, hosted its first annual fall chrysanthemum exhibit back in 1918.

In China, the flower has been used as a culinary herb since the 15th century B.C. and teas brewed from petals and leaves of the plant were once believed to hold the power of life.

In Japan, the Chrysanthemum, or “Kiku,” is the flower of nobility, and has served since ancient times as the centerpiece for the Festival of Happiness.

In 1753, the mum was given the name Westerners know by Carl Linnaeus, the renowned Swedish botanist and taxonomist. He combined the Greek words for gold “chrysos,” with “anthemon,” meaning flower.

While mums symbolize joy, optimism and happiness in the U.S. and in many Asian countries, in most parts of Europe they are meant to convey sympathy or mourning.

The first half of Como’s Fall Flower Show highlighted yellow, red and silver mums as well as pumpkin-on-a-stick. In addition, Dwarf sunflowers, marigolds, delicate olive branches and ornamental peppers added to the cheerful display. Following the  recent show change on November 1-5, the second half of the show is awash with autumnal orange, yellow, dark pink and white mums.

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