The first chrysanthemums were cultivated in China centuries ago. It has appeared in ancient Chinese writings as early as 15th century BC and was used as an herbal remedy. Its boiled roots were believed to provide headache relief, and the sprouts and petals were eaten in salads. The Chinese city of Chu-Hsien was named after the chrysanthemum and literally means “Chrysanthemum City.”
From China, the chrysanthemum made its way over to Japan by Buddhist monks in AD 400. Soon after its introduction, the Japanese were so enamored by this beautiful flower that it was soon adopted as the emperor’s crest and official seal. “Kiku” is the Japanese name for chrysanthemum and every year there is a National Chrysanthemum Day which is also referred to as the Festival of Happiness.