Neither, because it's not a flower at all—it just looks like a flower. The "flower" is really mineral crystals inside a piece of rock. Many people think these minerals look just like a chrysanthemum, so pieces of rock like this are called "chrysanthemum stones." These stones come from mountains in Japan and China that have been mined or cut for roads. People buy them and put them on special wooden stands as works of art. Would you enjoy having a chrysanthemum stone to look at in your room?
This stone was one of six stones given to the National Arboretum by the Japanese people to commemorate the United States' bicentennial, or our 200th birthday as a nation, in 1976. The stone was one of a pair of stones that the Japanese owner liked to display together. One (this one) had "flowers" that were off-white, the other had minerals that were more pink in color. The owner decided to split up this pair to give one to the American people, while keeping the other one in Japan. The idea was to symbolize the lasting friendship between the two countries. What a nice birthday present!
How to find the chrysanthemum stone
at the Arboretum:
Find the International Pavilion in the National Bonsai & Penjing Museum. There are glass cases inside that display many different kinds of viewing stones. The display changes, so you may or may not see this one. The arboretum also has a chrysanthemum stone that has smaller "flowers":
(Gift to President Gerald Ford by the Japan Suiseki Association in celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial. [Suiseki, pronounced "su-ee-seck-ee" means viewing stone in Japanese.] On permanent loan to the National Arboretum.)
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Last Updated July 10, 2009 9:23 AM
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