AskDefine | Define calendula

Dictionary Definition

calendula n : any of numerous chiefly annual herbs of the genus Calendula widely cultivated for their yellow or orange flowers; often used for medicinal and culinary purposes

User Contributed Dictionary

see Calendula



  1. Any plant of the genus Calendula, with yellow or orange flowers, often called marigolds.

Extensive Definition

Calendula (Ca-lén-du-la, pot marigold) is a genus of about 12-20 species of annual or perennial herbaceous plants in the daisy family Asteraceae, native to the area from Macaronesia east through the Mediterranean region to Iran. Calendula should not be confused with other plants that are also known as marigolds, such as plants of the genus Tagetes, corn marigolds or marsh marigolds. It is also the flower of the month October.
The name Calendula stems from the Latin kalendae, meaning first day of the month, presumably because pot marigolds are in bloom at the start of most months of the year. The common name marigold probably refers to the Virgin Mary, or its old Saxon name 'ymbglidegold', which means 'it turns with the sun'. Marigolds typically bloom quickly (in under two months) in bright yellows, reds, and oranges throughout the summer and well into the fall.
Marigolds are considered by many gardening experts as one of the most versatile flowers to grow in a garden, especially since it is easy to grow. Seeds sown in the spring, in most soils, will germinate freely in sunny or half-sunny locations. They do best, however, if planted in sunny locations with rich, well-drained soil. The leaves are spirally arranged, 5-18 cm long, simple, and slightly hairy. The flower heads range from pastel yellow to deep orange, and are 3-7 cm across, with both ray florets and disc florets. They have a spicy aroma and are produced from spring to autumn in temperate climates. It is recommended to deadhead (removal of dying flower heads) the plants regularly to maintain even blossom production.
Marigolds are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Cabbage Moth, The Gothic, Large Yellow Underwing and Setaceous Hebrew Character.
Marigold petals are considered edible. They are often used to add color to salads, and marigold extract is commonly added to chicken feed to produce darker egg yolks. Their aroma, however, is not sweet, and resembles the smell of hops in beer. The oil from its seed contains calendic acid.

Medicinal effects

Calendula in suspension or in tincture is used topically to treat acne, reducing inflammation, controlling bleeding and soothing irritated tissue.

Selected species

  • Calendula arvensis – Field Marigold
  • Calendula bicolor
  • Calendula eckerleinii
  • Calendula lanzae
  • Calendula maderensis – Madeiran Marigold
  • Calendula maritima – Sea Marigold
  • Calendula maroccana
  • Calendula meuselii
  • Calendula officinalis – Pot Marigold
  • Calendula stellata
  • Calendula suffruticosa
  • Calendula tripterocarpa


calendula in Bulgarian: Невен
calendula in Danish: Morgenfrue
calendula in German: Ringelblumen
calendula in Spanish: Calendula
calendula in Estonian: Saialill
calendula in Finnish: Kehäkukka
calendula in French: Calendula
calendula in Hebrew: ציפורן חתול
calendula in Italian: Calendula
calendula in Lithuanian: Medetka
calendula in Dutch: Goudsbloem (geslacht)
calendula in Portuguese: Calendula
calendula in Albanian: Calendula
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