marigolds

Bright sunny flowers of summer, yellow and orange, composites, strongly scented, edible, and easy to grow from seed in a wide range of climate zones. Two genera: Tagetes (called simply marigolds in the U.S.) and Calendula (pot marigolds, or very commonly, calendulas).

Tagetes. From Wikipedia:

Tagetes is a genus of 56 species of annual and perennial, mostly herbaceous plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae or Compositae). The genus is native to North and South America, but some species have become naturalized around the world. One species, T. minuta, is considered a noxious invasive plant in some areas.

… The name Tagetes is from the name of the Etruscan [deity] Tages.

The common name in English, “marigold”, is derived from “Mary’s gold”, a name first applied to a similar plant native to Europe, Calendula officinalis.

… The most commonly cultivated varieties of Tagetes are known variously as Mexican marigolds or African marigolds (usually referring to cultivars and hybrids of Tagetes erecta, although this species is not native to Africa), or French marigolds (usually referring to hybrids and cultivars of Tagetes patula, many of which were developed in France, although the species is not native to that country). Signet marigolds are hybrids derived mostly from Tagetes tenuifolia.

Tagetes minuta is the source of commercial “Tagetes oil” used in industry. It is now a naturalized species in Africa, Hawaii, and Australia, and is considered an invasive species (weed) in some regions.

Depending on the species, marigold foliage has a musky, pungent scent, though some varieties have been bred to be scentless. It is said to deter some common insect pests, as well as nematodes. Tagetes species are hence often used in companion planting for tomato, eggplant, chili pepper, tobacco, and potato. Due to antibacterial thiophenes exuded by the roots, Tagetes should not be planted near any legume crop. Some of the perennial species are deer-, rabbit-, rodent- and javalina or peccary-resistant.

Tagetes tenuifolia, in yellow and orange:

(#1)

(#2)

And Tagetes patula, again in yellow and orange:

(#3)

(#4)

Calendula. From Wikipedia:

Calendula …, [or] marigold, is a genus of about 15–20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae [or Compositae]. They are native to southwestern Asia, western Europe, Macaronesia, and the Mediterranean. Other plants are also known as marigolds, such as corn marigold, desert marigold, marsh marigold, and plants of the genus Tagetes.

The name calendula is a modern Latin diminutive of calendae, meaning “little calendar”, “little clock” or possibly “little weather-glass”. The common name “marigold” possibly refers to the Virgin Mary.

The most commonly cultivated and used member of the genus is the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis). Popular herbal and cosmetic products named ‘calendula’ invariably derive from C. officinalis.

On Calendula officinalis specifically:

Calendula officinalis (pot marigold, ruddles, common marigold, garden marigold, English marigold, or Scottish marigold) is a plant in the genus Calendula of the family Asteraceae. It is probably native to southern Europe, though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown, and it may possibly be of garden origin. It is also widely naturalised further north in Europe (north to southern England) and elsewhere in warm temperate regions of the world.

Calendula officinalis is widely cultivated and can be grown easily in sunny locations in most kinds of soils. Although perennial, it is commonly treated as an annual, particularly in colder regions where its winter survival is poor, or in hot summer locations where it also does not survive.

Calendulas in mixed yellow and orange:

(#5)

Note the striking difference between the leaves of the Tagetes and Calendula plants. And though both are strongly scented, the scents are quite different.

One Response to “marigolds”

  1. chryss Says:

    Beautiful. I didn’t know that marigold isn’t only Calendula but also Tagetes. In German, Tagetes = Studentenblume. Tagetes from the Etruscan god of wisdom, if I’m not mistaken.

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