Harper's New Monthly Magazine,  8 (1884), 855–59.


John Thorpe



Relevant illustrations:

eng. [5]


Botany, Taxonomy, Botanical Gardens, Horticulture, Breeding, Exhibitions

    Observes that with chrysanthemums, unlike the more popular rose, the 'remarkable variations of the different types are so conspicuous as to almost make us believe, in many instances, they have no relation, so entirely different in structure is each of the family groups' (854). Over 'two thousand varieties [...] are to be found in the catalogues of to-day', but even in 'this multiplicity of varieties there are many [more] apparently identical, or lacking distinctiveness, to the casual observer, [which] those intimately acquainted with them have no difficulty in determining' (857–58). Explains that, at the beginning of the century, this originally Sino-Japanese flower 'began to receive some attention as a decorative plant, [and] disputes arose as whether it was a matricaria, anthemis, or artemisia, to end which it was decided to make a new species, and call it Chrysanthemum, from chrysos, gold or golden, and anthos, a flower' (856). Notes that the 'numerous and conflicting' array of new varieties are 'in most cases produced from seed', for 'each seedling is undoubtedly, in the chrysanthemum as in all other plants, physiologically, a distinct individual'. At the same time, however, 'new varieties of chrysanthemums' can also be 'produced by bud variation, known in the vernacular of gardeners as sports', and if 'a variety has been cultivated a few years', with the 'young shoots' being 'propagated', then 'the variation becomes a fixed form' (858). Insists that chrysanthemums have 'a fascination so irresistible as to make their cultivation, when once begun, almost a mania' (856), and describes the annual exhibition of 'over five hundred varieties' of chrysanthemum held at the Inner Temple Gardens since 1850 as 'One of the great attractions of London', which 'Thousands of people visit [...] daily' (857).

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