In this guide, I’ll take you through everything you need to know about November’s Official Birth Month Flowers – the Chrysanthemum and Peony. Learn about their meaning and symbolism in the language of flowers and their cultural significance around the world today.
November Birth Month Flowers: The Chrysanthemum
Chrysanthemum, or mums, is one of the two official November birth flowers. Not only is it a staple ornamental plant in fall gardens, but it also is one of the most popular cut flowers worldwide. Thanks to their cheerful and beautiful blooms in various colors, sizes, and shapes.
History and Origins
Chrysanthemums are part of the Asteraceae family, including asters, sunflowers, and daisies. Renowned Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus gave the name chrysanthemum, which originated from the Greek words chrysos (gold) and anthemon (flower).
These famed ornamental plants hold a long and exciting history. The first cultivation of mums occurred in China during the 15th century BC as a flowering herb. Then, they reached the Western world in the 17th century.
The original flowers that grow wild feature golden-colored blossoms, but by 1630, more than 500 cultivars had been identified and recorded.
Today, it’s estimated that more than 20,000 chrysanthemum varieties exist, and each is beautiful in its own way.
What’s more, this November flower has become one of the most highly sought cut flowers for bouquets and other types of floral arrangements. They are also known as the “Queen of Fall Flowers” because of their popularity.
Chrysanthemum Flower Meaning and Symbolism
A pot or bouquet of chrysanthemums instantly adds a pop of color to any home. And that’s just one reason why these blooms have become a popular choice for flower gifting on many occasions.
Historically, the November birth flower symbolizes friendship and well-wishes. They make excellent birthday gifts and baby showers since they signify life and rebirth. Moreover, chrysanthemum flowers represent joy, good luck, happiness, longevity, honor, and respect.
Mums are expressions of sympathy in various parts of the world, particularly in Europe. In Japan, on the other hand, a special day called Chrysanthemum Day or Festival of Happiness is celebrated annually on September 9th in commemoration of these unique flowers.
As with other gifting flowers like roses, peonies, delphiniums, and dahlias, the colors of chrysanthemum flowers give different meanings. For instance, red mums symbolize love, and yellow chrysanthemum flowers indicate sorrow and ignored love. While most white flowers symbolize purity and innocence, white chrysanthemums give a different meaning as they express loyalty and devoted love instead.
Chrysanthemum is the official flower of Chicago and the 13th wedding anniversary flower.
November Birth Month Flowers: The Peony
Though not as widely recognized as chrysanthemums, peonies are also considered birth flowers for November. Mums are the Queen of Fall Flowers, and peony flowers are called the King of Flowers. Moreover, they are the 12th wedding anniversary flower.
History and Origins
The peony hails from the genus Paeonia. There are thought to be between 25 to 40 known species of this flowering plant today, as well as many cultivars.
Some say that the name peony originated from Paeon (or Paean), the physician of the gods in Greek mythology. He was a student of the Greek god of medicine, Aesculapius. According to an old tale, when Paeon healed Pluto using a peony root, Aesculapius became too envious and tried to kill him. Zeus saved him from certain death by transforming him into a peony plant that many people loved and adored.
Peonies are beloved for their ornate, delicate petal structure and sweet-scented fragrance. They also cover a broad spectrum of peony flower colors, including white, yellow, pink, red, and even purple,
Peonies are native to different regions worldwide, including parts of Asia, Europe, and North America. Today, they are one of the most famous garden plants – particularly in temperate areas where the flower flourishes.
The peony blooming season is short, typically in late spring to early summer each year.
Peony Flower Meaning and Symbolism
In the language of flowers, peonies carry many different meanings. The most common include romance, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion. The full and rounded blooms also symbolize happiness and beauty in all forms.
This November flower offers lots of colors, too. Pink peonies radiate a romantic appeal that makes them an ideal gift for birthdays or anniversaries. They usually represent riches and honor. White peonies, on the other hand, exude a classic and sophisticated charm without being overly feminine. A red peony flower symbolizes passionate love and romance.
The Cultural Significance of Peonies
These highly valued flowers are native to China and are often referred to as the “queen of flowers ” (or “king of flowers” according to other reports). Before the plum tree, peonies were considered the country’s national flower.
They also had an essential role during the Sui and Tang dynasties, gracing the Imperial Palace. Because of this history, peonies also symbolize honor and wealth.
A city in China called Luoyang is also known as the City of the Peony since it houses the National Peony Garden and holds an annual festival of peonies. Founded in 1978, the Luoyang National Peony Garden showcases countless varieties of peonies. It also collects and breeds different peony cultivars.
Along with their importance in China, the peony flower is the official state flower of Indiana.
For more, see our in-depth guide to peony flower meaning and symbolism.
Other Popular In-Season November Flowers
Flower choices in November aren’t limited to chrysanthemums and peonies. If you prefer other kinds of blossoms, there are many alternatives out there that bloom as beautifully as the November birth month flowers. Here are some of the most popular flowers during this time of the year.
Calla lily is one of the most sophisticated cut flowers you can easily get from your favorite florist. They are a pick in floral bouquets and arrangements as gifts for various occasions, essentially because of the flowers’ graceful silhouettes.
With a long vase life (7 to 10 days) and multiple color options available, calla lily flowers can quickly make any space more inviting. In floriography, calla lilies symbolize beauty, purity, and faithfulness.
Another famed cut flower for November is the gerbera daisy, which ranks as the 5th most popular cut flower worldwide. Like calla lilies, this flower from the daisy family also signifies beauty. It also symbolizes happiness, purity, and innocence. Gerberas, as a type of daisy flower, can also be traditionally considered the 5th Anniversary flower.
Irises make excellent cut flowers for floral arrangements. They are primarily in shades of blue and purple, but other colors like white and yellow are also common. Like the November birth flowers, they hold various meanings depending on their colors. Generally, iris flowers signify royalty and wisdom. They also mean respect, compliments, hope, faith, and passion.
Why Are There Two Birth Month Flowers in November?
November is represented by two birth flowers: the Chrysanthemum and Peony. While there isn’t a single reason why some months have more than one birth flower, several factors contribute to this phenomenon.
The most likely common reason for the two birth month flowers in November can be attributed to folklore and cultural variances across regions and countries over time. Various traditions of assigning flowers to birth months have developed. These traditions can depend on the local climate, which influences what flowers bloom during a particular month, as well as local folklore and customs.
Moreover, different flowers carry different meanings in the language of flowers, a symbolic system that was particularly popular during the Victorian era. Two flowers for one month allow for a richer range of symbolic expressions.
What are the Origins of November Birth Month Flowers?
The tradition of November birth flowers is thought to have originated in ancient Rome, where flowers were given as gifts to celebrate birthdays and other special events. Each month was associated with a particular flower, believed to hold specific characteristics or powers that would be imparted to people born in that month.
The specific flowers associated with each month have varied throughout history and between cultures. For example, some cultures in the Middle Ages used the symbolic language of flowers, called floriography, to communicate coded messages based on the type and color of the flower given. This practice continued into the Victorian era when the language of flowers became extremely popular and complex.
Like many traditions, the current list of November birth month flowers that we use today has been influenced by various historical and cultural factors. It’s similar to birthstones, where each month is associated with a specific gemstone.
For more, see our in-depth guide to the Official Birth Month Flowers.
The Official Birth Month Flower Calendar:
|Meanings & Symbolism:
|Carnations & Snowdrop
|Pink Carnations (love and appreciation), White Carnations (luck, love, and affection, Red Carnations (love and friendship). Snowdrop (hope and rebirth).
|Violet, Iris, and Primrose
|Violets (faithful love, truth, loyalty, humility), Iris (hope, faith, passion, purity, and innocence), Primrose (affection, young love, undying affection)
|Daffodils (new beginnings, faithfulness, luck, prosperity, and hope)
|Daisy & Sweet Pea
|Daisy (purity, love, new beginnings, fertility, and motherhood). Sweet Pea (blissful pleasure, gratitude).
|Lily of the Valley & Hawthorn
|Lily of the Valley (romance, luck, happiness, purity, humility). Hawthorn (hope, love, beauty, fertility, and supreme happiness).
|Roses & Honeysuckle
|Roses (love, passion, romance, purity, gratitude). Honeysuckle (happiness and eternal love).
|Larkspur & Water Lily
|Larkspur (happiness, love); Water Lily (enlightenment, resurrection, purity, beauty, creation).
|Gladiolus & Poppy
|Gladiolus (integrity, honor, respect); Poppy (remembrance, prosperity, enchantment, sympathy).
|Aster & Morning Glory
|Aster (faith, love, achievement, and wisdom); Morning Glory (affection, intimate love, patience).
|Marigolds & Cosmos
|Marigolds (devotion, commitment); Cosmos (harmony, love, innocence, beauty, modesty, joy, and balance).
|Chrysanthemum & Peonies
|Chrysanthemum (friendship, love); Peonies (romance, prosperity, good fortune, honor, and compassion)
|Narcissus, Poinsettia, and Holly,
|Narcissus (innocence and purity); Poinsettia (success, celebration); Holly (happiness and optimism).
The Chrysanthemum and Peony are stunning November birth month flowers. The Chrysanthemum, with its array of symbolic meanings from longevity and love to death, mirrors the season’s duality—a time of ending and preparation for renewal. The Peony, symbolizing romance, prosperity, and honor, brings a luxurious touch to the late autumnal season.
For more, see our guide to the best birthday messages and quotes to share with friends, family, and loved ones.
Andrew is the Editorial Director at Petal Republic. He holds a BSc degree in Plant Sciences and has trained professionally at leading floristry schools in London and Paris. In amongst overseeing a global editorial team, Andrew's a passionate content creator around all things flowers, floral design, gardening, and houseplants.