Chrysanthemums were first cultivated in China as an herb in the 15th century BC and were later introduced to Japan in the 8th century AD. Nine centuries later, the flower made its way to Europe where it got its English name. The word "chrysanthemum" comes from the Greek word "chrysos" meaning "golden" and referring to the color of the original flowers. The rest of the name comes from the word "anthemon" meaning flower. Today the flowers come in many forms, colors and hybrids. There are over 13 types of chrysanthemum blooms. The flower serves medical uses, including aiding in recovering from influenza. In Korea, chrysanthemum flowers are used to flavor some types of rice wines. Yellow and white chrysanthemums are also boiled in some parts of Asia to make a sweet drink called "chrysanthemum tea". The flowers are natural sources of insecticides as well as being able to reduce indoor air pollution.
Chrysanthemums are very important in Asian symbolism. The Japanese emperor position is called the Chrysanthemum Crest and the flower represents the emperor and the Imperial House. The Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum is a great honor awarded by the emperor. Depending upon the way it is presented, the chrysanthemum can also represent male homosexuality in Japan, as the tightly gathered petals are supposed to represent the male anus. However, it represents nobleness in China and, along with the plum blossom, the orchid and bamboo, serves as one of the Four Gentleman of China in the art world. In certain parts of Europe, as well as Asia, white chrysanthemums are symbols of death and therefore only sued for funerals or gravesites.
Chrysanthemums tattoos are most often found in Japanese tattoo culture. In Japanese tattoo culture certain elements are often paired together. Dragons usually accompany the chrysanthemum in a tattoo.