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Chrysanthemums, (otherwise known in the trade as Xanths), are one of the oldest known flowers, dating back to the 15 century BC when they were grown as flowering herbs by the Chinese. The ancient city of Xiaolan Town was renamed Ju-Xian – meaning ‘Chrysanthemum City’. The Chrysanthemum was later introduced to Japan in the 8th century AD and the ruling Emperor adopted the flower as his official seal.

Today, chrysanthemums are available all year round. They are grown and auctioned in vast quantities, making them one of the best flowers available. As a result chrysanthemums are the staple diet of the floristry industry

Chrsanthemums are split into two main categories – Multi-Headed Spray Xanth and Single-Headed Bloom Xanth.

Multi-Headed Spray Chrysanthemums.

Spray Xanth can be split down into five further categories: Button, Daisy, Double, Santini and Spider. All varieties are sold with 5-10 stems in a bunch with the exception of Santini. Santini have 25 stems in a wrap.

Button Spray Chrysanthemums.

As suggested by the name, the flower heads are button shaped. The most commonly used varieties are the Stallion family, (widely available in pink, white and yellow), and the Lollipop family, (widely available in pink, yellow red and white). Other common varieties include Edge, Furore, Feeling Green, Feeling White and Ibis. Button Chrysanthemums are the most commonly used xanth in wedding flowers.

Daisy Spray Chrysanthemums.

As the name suggests, these flowers look like a daisy - a round centre surrounded by the petals. This category is probably the most commonly used by florist shops, as they are bulky, larger headed flowers and usually competitively priced due to the large volumes sent into auction. The main Daisy Xanth is the Reagan family - available in cream, dark pink, orange, pale pink, red, white and yellow. Other common daisy varieties include Bacardi, Dance, Granada, Green Lizard, Katinka, Mona Lisa, Orlina, Orinoco and Passoa.

Double Spray Chrysanthemums.

In the UK the main use of this category is basing funeral tributes - they are not commonly used in for anything else. In Europe the double xanth is treated like any other flower and are used in bouquets, arrangements, wedding flowers etc. Good examples of double xanths are: Arctic Queen, (white), Calabria, (available in pink & white), the Euro family, (available in pink, white & yellow ), and the Zembla family, (available in cream , white & yellow ).

Santini Spray Chrysanthemums.

Santini xanths are miniature chrysanthemums with shorter stems and smaller flowers heads than other spray chrysanthemums. This category is widely used in Europe, but sadly overlooked in the UK. There are many varieties of santini with some fantastic names as well! They are available in beautiful colours and work exceptionally well in wedding work. Typical examples include: Bernando, (purple), the Calimero family, (available in bronze, lime, pink, white, yellow & two-tone), Froggy, (green), Jeanny, (pink & orange), Hilda, (brown), Kermit, (green), the Madiba family, (available in cream, pink, white & yellow ), Noki, (white), Paintball Sunny, (yellow), and Zebra, (red & yellow bi-colour).

Spider Spray Chrysanthemums.

As the name suggests, spider chrysanthemums are the spiky ones! This category gives the flower arranger the option of using another shape whilst still using budget priced flowers. Typical examples of spider xanth include: the Anastasia family, (available in cream, green, pink, white & yellow), the Delianne family, (available in green, white & yellow), Pisang (green) and the Vesuvio family, (available in white & yellow).

Single-Headed Bloom Chrysanthemums

Bloom Chrysanthemums can be split into a further 6 categories: Balloon/Pompon, Double, Incurve, Mop Head, Single and Spider. All varieties are wholesaled 10 stems per bunch.

Balloon/Pompon Chrysanthemum Blooms.

(Note the spelling is not ‘pompom’). This category is almost perfectly globular in shape. The flower head is of small size and the disk floret in the centre is completely covered with petals. They are regularly referred to as golf balls. Good examples of Balloon Xanth are: Balloon, (green), Bondini, (white), Boris Becker, (available in cream of yellow), Chenita, (yellow), Kiev, (red), and Kirov (red) and Perpignan, (pink).

Double Chrysanthemum Blooms.

This category generally has the petals at a 90 degree angle from the stem with the disk floret, in the centre, part visible. This variety of chrysanthemum bloom is not particularly popular in the UK. Good examples of this double variety are: Arctic Queen, (white), Gergiev, (white), Resomee, (pink), Rossano, (pink), Zembla, (available in white or yellow ).

Incurve Chrysanthemum Blooms.

This category is the ‘Daddy’ of all Chrysanthemum Blooms! Giant flower heads with the centre disk floret completely concealed - the petals curve up & around to create an outstanding domed bloom. Especially popular in the Autumn - stunning but never cheap! Good examples of incurve xanth blooms are: Astro, (bronze), Avignon, (peach), Fred Shoesmith, (cream), Green Wonder, (green), Marlen, (red), Migoli, (gold), Penza, (yellow), Rebonnet, (white), Riga, (yellow), Rivalry, (yellow), Taiga, (white) and Tom Pearce, bronze ).

Mop Head Chrysanthemum Blooms.

The flower head in the category quite simply resembles a mop head. The centre disk floret is completely or part concealed - some varieties look particularly scruffy! Some good examples of mop head blooms are: Bislet, (mauve), Desna, (mauve), Fuego, (bronze), John Riley, (red), Meagan, (red), Pandion, (pink), Regalia, (red), Residence, (yellow), and Snooker, (available in pink & yellow).

Single Chrysanthemum Blooms.

These blooms have a completely exposed central disk floret with the petals arranged around the edge - in the form of a daisy. There are not many varieties available commercially, but here are a few examples: Eleonora, (pink), Cremon, (white with a large yellow disk floret - looks like a fried egg), Inga, (nearly identical to Cremon), Saba, (purple petals edged in white with a green disk floret), Stellin, (pink) and Toshka, (purple).

Spider Chrysanthemum Blooms.

A spiky looking bloom with green and white varieties extremely popular in wedding work. Some good examples are: the Anastasia family, (available in cream, green, pink, white, & yellow), Oxana, (white), Saffin, (bronze), Shamrock, (green) and Spider Spivio, (white).