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Calendula

Calendula officinalis (pot marigold) is a plant in the genus Calendula (pot marigolds), in the family Asteraceae. It is probably native to southern Europe though its long history of cultivation makes its precise origin unknown, and may possibly be of garden origin. It is also widelynaturalised further north in Europe (north to southern England) and elsewhere in warm temperate regions of the world.

Calendula are considered by many gardening experts as one of the most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially since they are easy to grow, and tolerate most soils. In temperate climates, sow seed in spring for blooms that last throughout the summer and well into the fall. In areas of little winter freezing (USDA zones 8-11), sow seeds in autumn for winter color, plants will wither in subtropical summer. Seeds will germinate freely in sunny or half-sunny locations, but plants do best if planted in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. Pot marigolds typically bloom quickly from seed (in under two months) in bright yellows, golds, and oranges.

Pot marigold florets are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, or added to dishes as a garnish and in lieu of saffron. The leaves are edible but are often not palatable. They have a history of use as a potherb and in salads. Flowers were used in ancient Greek, Roman, Middle Eastern and Indian cultures as a medicinal herb as well as a dye for fabrics, foods and cosmetics.