Marigold / Calendula: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on marigold (calendula)

Calendula officinalis, a member of the Asteraceae family. It is a short-lived aromatic herbaceous perennial that can reach nearly 2 1/2 feet in height. The plant has branched lax or erect stems with oblong-lanceolate leaves that are roughly 2–7 inches in length, have hair on top and bottom, and with margins entire or occasionally waved or weakly toothed. The inflorescences are yellow, comprising a thick capitulum or flowerhead 1 ½ to 2 ¾ inch in diameter. The flowerhead is surrounded by two rows of hairy bracts. In the wild the plant often has a single ring of ray florets surrounding the central disc florets. The disc florets are tubular and hermaphrodite, and generally of a more intense orange-yellow color than the female, tridentate, peripheral ray florets. The fruit is a thorny curved achene.

The plant may flower the full length of the year if conditions are suitable.

common names & nomenclature
Marigold is from the late 14th century marygolde, which from Mary— most-likely in reference a reference to the Virgin + gold, for its color. The Old English name for the flower was simply golde.

Also known as:
pot marigold, english marigold, poet's marigold, husbandman's dial, marybud, merrybud, marygold, summer's bride, ruddles, common marigold, garden marigold, scottish marigold

Marigold, the pretty pot flower
Marigold / Calendula: Where in the World
habitat and range for marigold (calendula)

Calendula officinalis is most-likely native to southern Europe. The plant has a long history of cultivation which makes its precise origin difficult to know. It is hypothesized that it may be of garden origin. It is also widely naturalized further north in Europe—in north to southern England for example—and elsewhere in warm temperate regions of the world.

Marigold / Calendula: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting marigold (calendula)

Marigold enjoys sunny (to partially sunny) locations. Interestingly it will be annual in cooler climates and a perennial in warmer climates. Typically grown in cultivated gardens where it adds ornamental color, marigold is also often grown as a utilitarian herb for many therapeutic purposes.

Marigold succeeds in any well-drained soil, though it prefers a good loam.

Sow seeds directly in the garden soil from spring to early summer and again in September. The seed germinates best in darkness and usually within 1 - 2 weeks at 21°C. The plant often self-sows freely.

Marigold leaves can be used fresh or dried. They are best harvested late-morning on a day forecast for sun just after the dew has dried from them.

Marigold flowers are also used fresh or dried. If they are being collected for drying they are harvested when fully open and need to be dried quickly in the shade.

Once they are dry, remove the petals and store in a sealed jar away from light and heat which can damage the oils they contain.

Marigold / Calendula: The Rest of the Story
marigold (calendula) history, folklore, literature & more

calendula for your complexion
Calendula is an herb that’s native to the Mediterranean region of the world. For centuries it’s been used for healing. The Egyptians were some of the first people to use calendula thousands of years ago. It has been used by people throughout time including during the Civil War battlefield in the United States.

In modern times, calendula is used primarily for the skin. Many commercial lotions and creams actually include calendula extracts to help soothe the skin. Calendula is very effective with chapped skin or skin that’s very dry and cracked.

If you have sunburn, calendula can be vital to helping reduce the burn and inflammation and even prevent problems with peeling later. It will provide cooling relief that will be very welcome when your skin has been kissed a little too much by the sun.

Many lotions and creams actually contain calendula to help keep the skin soft and smooth. Calendula is used to soothe and freshen the skin and is a welcome product in many women’s cosmetic cases.