Daisies or Mums?

These hot pink Mums look like daisies for an excellent reason.

You surely could have fooled me, had I not seen the identity plaque beside this flower bed…

These hot pink beauties happen to be Chrysanthemums!

But why, then, do they look so much like daisies? Turns out Chrysanthemums and Daisies are kissing cousins.

They both belong to the family Asteraceae, along with Gerberas, Sunflowers, Asters of course, and even Lettuce. Asteraceae is, in fact, the most richly varied plant family on earth, including some 33,000 species. (Orchids are the runner-up, with about 28,000 species).

After this it gets complicated. Some authorities claim that Chrysanthemums are in fact a type of Daisy, while others break out Mums into a sub-family (Asteroideae) all their own.

And absolutely none of this taxonomy-talk would have helped me identity the flowers shown here as Chrysanthemums.

But I’m pretty darned sure I could have told you they’re not Lettuce.

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