Stems: erect, one-to-two flowered, the lower flower subtended by a petaloid lanceolate bract. Leaves: roundish to oblong-cordate, longer than wide, irregularly crenate-toothed. Flowers: yellow; sepals petaloid, lanceolate, acute; petals none; stamens and pistils numerous.
This is a splendid-looking marsh plant, with large roundish glossy leaves of a deep bright green, and fine yellow blossoms that are tinged with purple on the outside. It resembles a large Buttercup. The name Marigold is a corruption of ' Mary's gold," for this flower was dedicated to the Holy Virgin in the Middle Ages, a fact to which Shakespeare refers in Cymbcline, when he causes the musicians to sing: "Hark, hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
And Phcebus 'gins arise, His steeds to water at those springs
On chalic'd flowers that lies; And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes."
The Marsh-marigold has no petals, but its five or more petaloid sepals do duty instead. The leaves of this extremely succulent plant are mostly heart-shaped at the base, and just below the flower is borne a petal-like long-shaped bract.
Ofttimes amid the mountains you will see flat moist meadows literally ablaze with these showy blossoms, which turn the marshes into a veritable Field of the Cloth of Gold.