Posted by Bangzkie Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) is a plant in the genus Calendula (pot marigolds), in the family Asteraceae. It is probably native to southern Europe though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown, and 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.
Pot marigold florets are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, or added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves are edible but are often not palatable. They have a history of use as a potherb and in salads. Flowers were used in ancient Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb as well as a dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics. Many of these uses persist today.
Calendula officinalis is widely cultivated as a herb and can be grown easily in sunny locations in most kinds of soils. Although perennial, it is commonly treated as an annual plant, particularly in colder regions where its winter survival is poor, or in hot summer locations where is also does not survive. Calendula are considered by many gardening experts as one of the most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially since they are easy to grow, and tolerate most soils. In temperate climates, sow seed in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall. In areas of little winter freezing (USDA zones 8-11), sow seeds in autumn for winter color, plants will wither in subtropical summer. Seeds will germinate freely in sunny or half-sunny locations, but plants do best if planted in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Pot marigolds typically bloom quickly from seed (in under two months) in bright yellows, golds, and oranges. Seeds Leaves are spirally arranged, 5–18 cm long, simple, and slightly hairy. The flower heads range from pastel yellow to deep orange, and are 3–7 cm across, with both ray florets and disc florets. Most cultivars have a spicy aroma. It is recommended to deadhead (removal of dying flower heads) the plants regularly to maintain even blossom production.