Marigold, the usual name of garden plants of two distinct genera of campositw The old naturalists called them Mary Gowles, a name from the Anglo-Saxon for another plant, which has been transferred to these, probably on account of a similarity in color. The garden or pot marigold, calendula officinalis, a spreading plant about a foot high with succulent oblong, entire, strong-smelling leaves, is still to be found in country gardens; the heads have numerous ray flowers, and these are the only ones that produce seed, which are in long, curved, roughened achenes; the disk flowers as well as those of the ray are yellow; the flowners have been rendered double in cultivation. The common marigold was once used in cookery, imparting a flavor to soups and broths, and thus has long had a place in the kitchen garden. It was formerly, among other uses, employed as a carminative; and its dried florets were used to adulterate saffron, and by dairy maids to impart a rich color to their cheese and butter. There are lemon-colored varieties, but the usual color is a rich orange yellow. - The showy plants known in gardens as the African and French marigolds belong to the genus tagetes, and, notwithstanding their geographical garden names, are natives of South America and Mexico; they are annuals, with mostly pinnate leaves and heads of yellow, orange, or brownish flowers, with a smooth cup-shaped involucre; the ray flowers only are pistillate, but in most of the garden forms they are double by the conversion of the disk flowers into ligulate ones like those of the ray.
The so-called African marigold (T. erecta) has large flowers varying from lemon color to orange. It is showy, but a much coarser plant than the French (T. patula), which has more delicate leaves, and flowers varying from pale yellow to a rich orange brown, often handsomely striped or bordered with different shades. The most beautiful and delicate of all is the comparatively recent tagetes signata, with very finely divided foliage of a rich deep bluish green color, and producing a great profusion of small single flowers, with five orange-colored rays which are marked with a darker spot at the base; a dwarf form of this, var. pumila, is a fine plant grown as a single specimen, and it is useful in masses. The foliage of the species before mentioned has a strong and unpleasant odor, but there is a sweet-scented one, T. lacida, the leaves of which have the odor of anise; its flower heads are very small and borne in clusters; it is much less cultivated than formerly, and though a perennial is treated as an annual.
The different sorts are readily raised from seeds, sowing in June in the open ground, or earlier in hotbeds, and transplanting when 3 or 4 in. high. - On the alluvial banks of rivers, from Illinois southward, is an American plant belonging to this group, known as the fetid marigold (dyaodia chrysan-themoides), furnished with pellucid glands, which give out a strong odor; the flower heads are terminal and the flowers yellow. The marsh marigold (caltha palustris) belongs to the order ranunculacece.
African Marigold (Tagetes erecta).
French Marigold (Tagetes patula).