Stem. - Hollow, furrowed. Leaves. - Rounded, somewhat kidney-shaped. Flowers. - Golden-yellow. Calyx. - Of five to nine petal-like sepals. Corolla. - None. Stamens. - Numerous. Pistils. - Five to ten, almost without styles.
Plate XXXV. Marsh Marigold. - C. palustris
Hark, hark ! the lark at Heaven's gate sings,
And Phoebus 'gins arise, His steeds to water at those springs,
On chaliced flowers that lies : And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes; With everything that pretty is My lady sweet, arise !
Arise, arise. - Cymbeline.
We claim - and not without authority - that these "winking Mary-buds" are identical with the gay marsh marigolds which border our springs and gladden our wet meadows every April. There are those who assert that the poet had in mind the garden marigold - Calendula - but surely no cultivated flower could harmonize with the spirit of the song as do these gleaming swamp blossoms. We will yield to the garden if necessary The marigold that goes to bed with the sun And with him rises weeping of the "Winter's Tale," but insist on retaining for that larger, lovelier garden in which we all feel a certain sense of possession - even if we are not taxed on real estate in any part of the country - the "golden eyes" of the Mary-buds, and we feel strengthened in our position by the statement in Mr. Robinson's "Wild Garden " that the marsh marigold is so abundant along certain English rivers as to cause the ground to look as though paved with gold at those seasons when they overflow their banks.
These flowers are peddled about our streets every spring under the name of cowslips - a title to which they have no claim, and which is the result of that reckless fashion of christening unrecognized flowers which is so prevalent, and which is responsible for so much confusion about their English names.
The derivation of marigold is somewhat obscure. In the "Grete Herball" of the sixteenth century the flower is spoken of as Mary Gowles, and by the early English poets as gold simply. As the first part of the word might be derived from the Anglo-Saxon mere - a marsh, it seems possible that the entire name may signify marsh-gold, which would be an appropriate and poetic title for this shining flower of the marshes.