Chrysanthemums are attractive flowers that have been in cultivation for thousands of years, with references as early as the 15th century B.C., in old Chinese texts. These flowers were not added to the Western world until the 17th century C.E. Although these flowers belong to the famous daisy family, there are so many diverse varieties with so much substantial diversity that they have their own classification. There is a massive selection of colors and bloom shapes, as well as variegated and traditional foliage.
Reflex, Indeterminate and Decorative
Reflex blooms have downward, loose curving petals, and the vast, 5-inch blooms have a flat top with a concealed center. Decorative kinds are among the most common varieties grown in containers or as houseplants. The blooms are around 4 to 5.5 inches, loose and relatively open with either loosely downward or upward arcing leaves. Due to the variety of possible petal structures, ornamental chrysanthemums are often identified in the indeterminate category. Indeterminate types do not fit correctly into any other class, having bizarre petal or irregular blooms and foliage shapes. Those flowers possess features of multiple classifications.
Pompon and Incurved
There are three principal incurved chrysanthemum classifications: irregular, regular, and intermediate. These are further slit into late and early bloomers. The main features of incurved chrysanthemums are their globe-shaped, distinctive blossoms and inward and upward curving petals. Regular incurved varieties have densely packed, tight petals on flowers up to 6.5 inches in size. Intermediate and irregular types have much larger blooms of up to 8.5 inches. Irregular varieties have packed petals at the top of the blossom and somewhat looser petals around the sides and base. Intermediate kinds have moderately densely packed, even petals all over. Pompon chrysanthemums tend to have much smaller blooms, equating between 1 and 3 inches. Pompons are another globular kind, but the flowers tend to have a blend of slightly downward and upward curving petals
Spider, Quills, and Thistles
Spiders do not have the old petal associated with chrysanthemums but have drooping, long, tubular florets with a curl at the tips. The florets radiate downward and out from a flat, large center. Quill kinds have many straight, short tubular florets with a closed center. Thistle species also have tubular florets but have a ragged, wild, unkempt appearance. The florets seem randomly placed and differ considerably in length.
Single, Spoon, Anemone and Semi-Double
Spoon, anemone, single and semi-double families all share several characteristics, all seeming similar to the daisy. Spoons are loose, wide, flat flowers with thin, long petals radiating out and arcing somewhat downward from a yellow center. The petals have rounded, small dips at the tips, making them seem somewhat spoonlike. Single varieties have a single layer of pointed petals encircling a bright yellow center, much like a giant daisy. Semi-doubles are related to singles but have many petal layers. Anemones have outward radiating, tapered petals and a raised, large center covered in short, tightly layered florets.