Pulchritude: Marigold

Marigold has been a staple in spring gardens for decades.  Named for its vibrant golden color, it is abundantly available in the spring and summer.  Marigold is a name attributed to 10 different plant species, which comprise 5 different genera.  Despite this diversity, marigold plants generally range in color from deep yellow-gold to deep orange-red.  Tagetes patula, Tagetes erecta, Tithonia diversifolia, Tagetes lucida, Baileya are native to Mexico and central America.  Calendula officinalis is believed to be native to southern Europe.  Despite the variability of different marigold plants, they typically grow between 20 and 40 inches in height in the wild.  The various species of marigold have a variety of uses which include culinary, medicinal, for dyes, and in rituals.  Many are used for their antibacterial properties.  Modern science has shown that extracts from Tagetes lucida inhibit the growth of Staph, E. coli, and Candida.  Marigold petals were fed to chickens to enhance the yellow color of egg yolks.  The Cherokee  used marigold as a skin wash and yellow dye.  The Aztecs frequently used various marigold species native to Mexico in  rituals.



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