PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Chinese Chrysanthemum a.k.a. ‘Gong Ju Hua’ (Chrysanthemum morifolium)

You’ve probably seen Chrysanthemum Tea in Asian groceries or health food shops. This is that plant. Used in traditional Asian medicine for millennia, the flowers make a lovely tasting and healthful tea. The Chinese name for it, Gong Ju Hua, translates as ‘Tribute Chrysanthemum’ (for the ancient emperors of China). It is occasionally referred to as the ‘flower to resist aging’ for its use in nourishing skin, hair, and moderating cholesterol and blood pressure. Here is a fascinating article from the NIH about its history and beneficial properties:

The plant grows in full sun to about 2 feet tall in a bushy collection of stems and textured, scalloped leaves. In autumn, sturdy stems shoot above the mound of foliage topped with densely petaled puffy white daisies with soft yellow centers. Harvest of this variety is typically in mid November. It is a great addition to your garden for late season flowers.

The plant has been selected from the original Chrysanthemum species for thousands of years and in all that continual selection of specific traits, it no longer produces viable seed. The only way to get more is by dividing the roots or rooting stem cuttings. So when you get one of these, you are literally getting a small piece of the same plant that grew in China centuries ago. That kind of thing makes our heads spin.