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.

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. The flower also features in the return of this year’s Ikebana Fall Show, to be held in The Ordway Garden’s Bonsai Gallery November 1-7. The free flower show features dozens of artful arrangements created by members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter of Ikebana International.

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 will highlight yellow, red and silver mums as well as pumpkin-on-a-stck. In addition, Dwarf sunflowers, marigolds, delicate olive branches and ornamental peppers will add to the cheerful display. Following a show change November 1-5, the second half of the show will be awash with autumnal orange, yellow and white mums.

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