Marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Marigold is one of the most well-known flowers, but its petals and leaves are also considered a herb and are used for medicinal and culinary purposes. Varieties of marigold include pot marigold, French marigold and Mexican mint marigold, which are sometimes used as a substitute for tarragon leaves.
Marigold flowers have a delicate, bitter flavour with earthy notes, while the leaves are peppery and, depending on the species, can be unpalatable.
Marigold has a memorable, sweet, resin-like smell and its aroma has the ability to detract pests from neighbouring plants.
Petals are used both fresh and dried as a garnish, in salads and in cookies, custards, soups and cakes. Marigold has been used to enhance the colour of cheese and chicken skin. It pairs with fruit, chicken, avocado, fish and tomatoes and marries with tarragon, chilli, garlic and is sometimes added to saffron to decrease the cost.
Marigolds are excellent companion plants and therefore are often planted amongst vegetables. They grow best in sunny positions and can be grown in any soil. Remove dead flowers regularly.
Marigold is thought to have originated in the Western Hemisphere’s subtropical regions from Arizona to South America. Portuguese explorers introduced the plant into India and later versions of the plant become popular in Africa and France. In Mexico, marigold petals are used to decorate the graves of loved ones and in the 16th century, it became the living symbol of the Aztec massacre by the Spanish.
Marigold is known for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and is used in many salves and ointments. Marigold petal tea is said to help with cramps and gastric disorders.
Facts about Marigold
Marigold’s vibrant orange colour is used in many clothes and hair dyes.