Letter | Published:

The Chrysanthemum



THIS being the centenary year of the introduction of the Chrysanthemum into England, a word on the subject from its native place, Peking, may not be out of place. It is not generally known that the Chinese grow the Chrysanthemum as a standard tree especially for selling. They graft them on to a stalk of Artemisia. There is a species of Artemisia that grows wild and covers the waste ground round Pekin; it springs from seed every year, and by the autumn attains to a tree 8 or 10 feet high with a stem 1½ inch thick. The Chinese cut it down, and, after drying it, use it as fuel; the small twigs and seeds are twisted into a rope, which is lighted and hung up in a room to smoulder for hours; the pungent smell of the smoke drives out the mosquitoes. This plant, after being potted, is cut down to about 3 feet and used as the stock, the twigs of Chrysanthemum are grafted round the top, and it quickly makes a fine tree, the flowers grow and open, and as the stock soon withers the whole tree dies, and folks say, “another ingenious fraud of the Chinamen.”

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