In China, they have been around since 500 BC. Evidence. In 1630, more than 500 varieties were already mentioned there. In Europe, especially in Holland, they have been known since the mid-17th century, but their general dissemination took place only in the 19th century. Chrysanthemum was first appreciated in China as a medicinal plant.
It is classified in the oldest Chinese medical material, Shennong Bencao Jing (early modern era), in the category of superior drugs and is part of the products related to the search for immortality. "In prolonged use, it lifts the inhibition of blood and qi, alleviates the body, slows down ageing, and prolongs life" says the classic. "Lightening the body" was a goal to reach the ethereal state of Immortals able to fly and "ride the clouds". From Jin and Tang dynasties (the 5th century so), chrysanthemum began to be appreciated as an ornamental plant, while continuing to be used for dietary reasons.
The first monograph on chrysanthemums was published in 1104 AD. The author, Liu Mengquan 泉 蒙 泉 classifies the chrysanthemums according to their colors: the normal ones are yellow, then come the whites, the purples and finally the reds. It lists a total of 35 cultivated varieties that could be observed in the gardens near the Buddhist shrines of Longmen Grottoes. In the 1th century, the famous physician and herbalist Li Shizhen 李时珍 in his Great Treaty of Medical Matter, reports a hundred cultivars. He attributes to them some medicinal properties such as "eliminating heat and toxins", "improving visual acuity" and so on. In 1630, a survey of over 500 cultivars 17 and about 2000 at the beginning of 20th century.