This section is from the book "The Botanical Magazine; Or, Flower-Garden Displayed", by William Curtis. Also available from Amazon: The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-Garden Displayed, Volume I.
Tagetes Patula. Spreading Tagetes, or French Marigold.
Syngenesia Polygamia Superflua.
Receptaculum nudum. Pappus aristis 5 erectis. Cal. 1-phyllus, 5-dentatus, tubulosus. Flosculi radii 4-8, persistentes.
TAGETES patula caule subdiviso patulo. Linn. Syst. Veg. ed. 14. Murr. 228.
TANACETUM Africanum Flos Africanus minor. Bauh. Pin. 132.
FLOS Africanus. Dod. Pempt. 255. The small single French Marigold. Park. Par. p. 304.
For richness and variety of tints few flowers can vie with this species of Tagetes, which forms one of the chief ornaments of our gardens at the close of summer.
Some authors make it a native of Africa, others of America.
Two principal varieties are usually kept in the gardens, the common small sort with a strong disagreeable smell, and a larger one here figured, usually called sweet-scented, the former is of more humble growth, its branches more spreading, its blossoms smaller than those of the latter, the flowers of which have usually a greater portion of the yellow tint, and the smell of the other so modified as to be far less disagreeable; sweet-scented we fear it can scarcely be called: from the seed of both sorts some flowers will be produced extremely double, and others single.
Miller recommends the seed to be frequently changed, to prevent them from degenerating.
It is one of our tender annuals which require to be raised on a gentle hot-bed, if we are desirous of having them early; if that be not an object, they may be sown under a common hand-glass on a warm border the beginning of May, and, when large enough, planted out in the flower-beds, where they are to remain.
Dodonaeus observes, that the leaves, if held up to the light, appear as if perforated; and he adduces some instances, which prove the plant to be of a poisonous nature.