This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Handsome annual or perennial plants, emitting a powerful and somewhat disagreeable odour when bruised or touched. Leaves pinnate or simple. Involucre composed of about five bracts, cohering in a tube. Florets normally 5, or rarely fewer, persistent. Achenes linear, elongated, surmounted by a pappus of five bristles. About fifteen species are known, all American. The name is of classical origin.
1. T. patula (fig. 135). French Marigold. - This and the next species are ranked amongst the earliest of cultivated ornamental plants, having been grown in our gardens for nearly three centuries. There are many handsome varieties in which the florets are enlarged and more numerous than in the wild form, ranging from 9 inches to 2 feet in height, and varying in colour from pale yellow and orange to a rich orange-brown, and striped or bordered. A native of Mexico.
Fig. 135. Tagetes patula. (1/3 nat. size.)
2. T. erecta (fig. 136). African Marigold. - This species has not varied to the same extent, not having developed the rich velvety brown colour so prominent in some varieties of the preceding. The lemon and orange-coloured double varieties are very showy, and there is a dwarf race. This is also a native of Mexico.
3. T. tenuifolia. - An erect slightly branched annual with pinnatisect serrate leaves. Peduncles 1-headed, naked. Pappus of five scales, four of which are united, and the fifth free and longer. Flowers yellow. Mexico.
4. T. signata. - A species of more recent introduction, resembling T. patula, and superior in some of its very dwarf varieties, but differing in the pappus, which is composed of five truncate scales. The flower-heads are smaller but very abundant, and produced in uninterrupted succession till late in Autumn. Mexico.
5. T. lucida. - A very distinct free blooming perennial species, though it is usually treated as an annual. Leaves simple, oblong-lanceolate, coarsely serrated. Flower-heads corymbose, about 9 lines in diameter, of a rich yellow. This species has the aspect of a Cruciferous plant, from the number of the ray-florets being usually four and broad, whilst the disk-florets are few and small, having the appearance of stamens at a little distance. Peru.
Fig. 136. Tagetes erecta. (1/3 nat. size.)