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Calendula officinalis: Pot Marigold

Calendula, bright yellow gold, daisy like  flowers with pale green leaves brighten our gardens from June through first frost. Commonly known as the “pot” marigold, this plant should not be confused with our modern Marigold, the Tagetes species, known as French or African marigolds easily found in catalogs and nurseries.

Calendula has a long history of use and had a place in kitchen herb gardens. A “pot” herb , in this case the “pot” marigold, refers to the 16th to 19th century use of a plant eaten or steamed. Flowers were gathered and dried and added to soups and broths and said to comfort the heart and lighten the spirits. Did you know that the International Herb Association picked Calendula as the herb of the year for 2008?

How about considering this plant for your 2013 gardens? Beautiful radiant flowers, a companion plant, helpful and traditionally used in skin ailments, qualities that continue to establish Calendula  a worthy garden addition.

Calendula, sometimes called pot marigold or English marigold, refers to about 20 species of edible flowers from the daisy family. Despite its nickname, Calendulas differ from the flowers of the genus Tagetes, commonly known as marigolds. Calendulas have edible petals, whereas Tagetes marigolds are dangerous for both humans and animals to ingest. If you have a plant that resembles a marigold in your garden, you must be entirely sure it is a Calendula before eating it or allowing pets near it. To tell if a marigold is a Calendula, examine its features and look for telltale signs of its genus. ”

Please note: The above photo is a picture of  Calendula officinalis. The photo below and to your right is French marigold, Tagetes sps, which we commonly select for our gardens. While the Tagetes species is known to help deter bugs from our Tomato plants and others, it is not edible.

Going forward I will refer to this edible and medicinal plant as Calendula.

Where Found:  this plant is native to south Europe but now found all over the world. hardy; can easily reseed itself even though it is considered an annual.

Parts Used: flowers and leaves.

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