Why Are Marigolds Called Calendula? Exploring the Origins of the Name

Did you know that marigolds are also known as calendula? The name may seem unusual, but it’s a well-known fact among gardeners and herbalists. Marigolds, or calendula, are beautiful, vibrant flowers that are often grown for their medicinal properties. They’ve been used for centuries as natural remedies for various ailments, including skin conditions and digestive issues. In fact, they’re so versatile and useful that some even call them “medicine flowers.”

While the reasons for the name “calendula” aren’t clear, some suggest that it may have come from the Latin word “calendae,” which means “the first day of the month.” This is because marigolds bloom for most of the year, making them a reliable source of color in gardens and a symbol of good luck. Others believe that the name may have been derived from the Latin word “calendulae,” which means “little clock.” This is because the flowers open and close according to the movement of the sun, resembling clock faces.

Whatever the origins of the name may be, marigolds or calendula are a beloved flower around the world. From their vibrant colors to their many uses, these flowers are a true gem in the world of gardening and herbal medicine. So next time you see a beautiful marigold, remember that it’s also known as calendula, and it’s more than just a pretty flower!

Origins of Marigold

Marigolds are one of the most popular ornamental flowers in the world, largely due to their versatility, bright colors, and easy cultivation. But did you know that marigolds are also known as calendula? This is a common misconception, as marigolds and calendula are actually two different plants. Marigolds belong to the Tagetes genus, while calendula is part of the Calendula genus.

The name calendula is derived from the Latin word “”calendae””, which means “”the first day of the month””. This is because calendula typically blooms on the first day of the month, or the calends, in ancient Rome. The plant was believed to have medicinal properties and was widely used by the Romans to cure a variety of ailments, from skin irritations to stomach problems.

The origins of marigolds, on the other hand, can be traced back to Mexico and Central America. Aztecs valued marigolds for their medicinal properties and used them to treat a wide range of illnesses. They also used the flowers to decorate their homes, temples, and public spaces. When Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the late 15th century, they were introduced to marigolds and brought them back to Europe.

  • Marigolds are now grown all over the world and are a staple of many gardens, both for their beauty and their usefulness.
  • There are over 50 species of marigolds, but the most commonly grown are African marigolds (Tagetes erecta) and French marigolds (Tagetes patula).
  • Marigolds are often planted as companion plants to vegetables, as they are believed to repel pests and attract beneficial insects.

Despite their different origins and classifications, marigolds and calendula are often confused due to their similar appearance. Both have brightly colored blooms with a yellow or orange center, and both are often used in traditional medicine.

Common Name Botanical Name Origins
African Marigold Tagetes erecta Mexico and Central America
French Marigold Tagetes patula Mexico and Guatemala
Calendula Calendula officinalis Europe, Asia, and North Africa

Whether you’re a gardener, a herbalist, or just someone who appreciates a beautiful flower, marigolds and calendula are both worth getting to know. Their origins may be different, but both plants are rich in history and continue to be beloved by people all around the world.

History of Calendula

The use of marigolds or calendula can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Romans, Greeks, and Egyptians. They used the flowers for their medicinal properties and in religious ceremonies. In medieval times, they were used as a substitute for saffron as a spice in cooking and were often referred to as “poor man’s saffron.”

  • During World War I, calendula was used to treat wounds on the battlefield due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. It was also used to treat various skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, calendula has been used to support the immune system and promote healthy skin.
  • In India, marigold flowers are used in religious ceremonies and are believed to symbolize purity, prosperity, and good fortune.

The word “calendula” originates from the Latin word “calendae,” which means “the first day of the month” or “the beginning.” This is because calendula flowers were believed to bloom at the beginning of each month.

According to Greek mythology, the goddess Aphrodite created marigolds from the tears she shed over the death of her lover, Adonis. The flowers were said to have grown from the ground where her tears fell.

Country Calendula Name
Germany Ringelblume
France Souci
China Xuan Ju Hua
India Zendu

Today, calendula is still used for its medicinal properties and is often found in skincare products due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It is also a popular choice for gardeners due to its bright, vibrant color and easy-to-grow nature.

Varieties of Marigold

Marigolds are one of the most popular annual flowers planted in gardens around the world. There are many different varieties of marigold, each having unique qualities that make them stand out. Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular marigold varieties:

  • African Marigolds: These are the largest of the marigold varieties and are known for their showy, bright blooms that come in shades of yellow, orange, and red. They grow up to three feet tall and have a long bloom season.
  • French Marigolds: These are smaller than African marigolds but still come in a wide range of colors, including yellow, orange, red, and mahogany. They are a great choice for borders or container gardens.
  • Signet Marigolds: These are the smallest of the marigold varieties, growing up to one foot tall. They have delicate, fern-like foliage and produce an abundance of small, edible flowers in shades of yellow and orange.

Uses of Marigold Varieties

Marigolds don’t just look pretty in the garden—they have many practical uses as well. Here are just a few:

  • Insect Repellent: Marigolds contain natural insect-repelling compounds, making them a great addition to vegetable gardens to keep pests at bay.
  • Medicinal Uses: Calendula, a type of marigold, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat a variety of ailments, including wounds, inflammation, and skin irritations.
  • Culinary Uses: The flowers of some marigold varieties, such as signet marigolds, are edible and add a bright pop of color to salads, soups, and other dishes.

How to Grow Marigolds

Marigolds are easy to grow and care for, making them a great choice for beginning gardeners. Here are some tips for growing marigolds:

  • Choose a sunny spot: Marigolds thrive in full sun, so make sure to plant them in a location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Plant in well-draining soil: Marigolds prefer soil that is well-draining and slightly acidic. If your soil is heavy or clay-like, amend it with compost or sand to improve drainage.
  • Water regularly: Marigolds need regular watering, especially during hot, dry weather. Water deeply once or twice a week, rather than giving them shallow, frequent watering.
Variety Height Bloom Time
African Up to 3 feet tall Summer to frost
French Up to 1 foot tall Summer to frost
Signet Up to 1 foot tall Summer to frost

No matter which variety of marigold you choose, you’re sure to enjoy their cheerful blooms and easy-to-grow nature. Happy Gardening!

Importance in Medicinal Practice

Calendula, commonly known as marigold, has been used in various medicinal practices for centuries. It holds incredible healing properties, making it a go-to herb for many ailments, including skin issues, digestive problems, and menstrual pain.

  • Skin Healing: Calendula has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that help promote wound healing and prevent infections. It is used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including burns, cuts, eczema, and rashes. Calendula oil is used in many skin care products for its moisturizing and soothing effects.
  • Digestive Health: Calendula has been used to help soothe digestive issues, including ulcers, colitis, and diarrhea. It has anti-inflammatory effects that help reduce inflammation in the digestive tract. Additionally, calendula tea has been used to stimulate the liver and improve bile flow, thus aiding in digestion.
  • Menstrual Pain: Calendula has been traditionally used for relief from menstrual pain. It contains compounds that help reduce muscle spasms and inflammation, making it an effective natural remedy for menstrual cramps.

Calendula contains various compounds, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and triterpene saponins, that contribute to its healing properties. Its anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiseptic properties make it a beneficial herb for many medicinal purposes.

Studies have shown that calendula extracts can also help reduce oxidative stress, which has been linked to many chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease. It also has immune-boosting effects, making it a useful herb for supporting the immune system.

Traditional Uses Modern Uses
Wound healing Skincare products
Digestive issues Anti-inflammatory supplements
Menstrual pain relief Immune-boosting supplements

Overall, calendula has a long history of use in traditional and modern medicine for its numerous health benefits. From skin healing to immune system support, calendula is a versatile herb that holds promise for many medicinal applications.

Usage in Cosmetics

Marigold or Calendula has a long history of usage in cosmetic products. Its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties make it a popular ingredient in various skincare and hair care products. Here are some ways marigold is used in cosmetics:

  • Topical creams and lotions: Calendula extracts are used as an ingredient in topical creams and lotions due to its ability to soothe and heal inflamed skin, reduce redness, and promote wound healing. It also stimulates collagen production, which helps in maintaining youthful and supple skin.
  • Shampoos and conditioners: Marigold extracts are added to hair care products due to their ability to soothe the scalp and reduce dandruff. It also adds shine and volume to hair, making it a popular natural ingredient in shampoos and conditioners.
  • Facial masks: Calendula extracts are added to facial masks due to their ability to improve skin texture, remove dead skin cells, and promote radiant skin. It also helps in reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Marigold is an excellent natural ingredient in cosmetics due to its versatility and efficacy. It is gentle on the skin and does not cause any adverse side-effects. It is also suitable for all skin types and can be used by anyone looking for natural and effective skincare and hair care products.

Key Takeaways

Marigold or Calendula is widely used in various cosmetic products due to its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant properties. It has a soothing effect on the skin and scalp and promotes wound healing, making it a popular natural ingredient in topical creams and lotions, shampoos, conditioners, and facial masks.

Properties Benefits
Anti-inflammatory Reduces redness, soothes inflamed skin
Antiseptic Kills bacteria, reduces acne
Antioxidant Prevents free radical damage, promotes youthful skin

Overall, marigold is a versatile natural ingredient that offers numerous benefits for the skin and hair. Its long history of usage in cosmetic products and proven efficacy make it a popular choice among consumers looking for natural and effective skincare and hair care products.

Symbolism in Different Cultures

Marigolds, or calendula, have been esteemed for centuries in various cultures. They are known for their vibrant yellow, orange, and red hues, and are a common sight in gardens, from cottage gardens to grand botanical ones. Their symbolism ranges from love and desire to sorrow and mourning, depending on the culture.

  • Christian Symbolism: In Christian symbolism, the marigold represents the Virgin Mary because of its golden color. In some cultures, marigolds are hung in churches and used in religious offerings as a symbol of purity and divinity.
  • Aztec Symbolism: In Aztec mythology, marigolds play a crucial role in the “Day of the Dead” celebrations. The orange marigold, or cempasuchil, is believed to help guide the souls of the departed back to the world of the living. During the festival, marigolds are placed on altars, made into garlands, and scattered on pathways as markers for the returning spirits.
  • Funerary Symbolism: In some cultures, marigolds are associated with death and used as funeral flowers. In ancient Greece, they were placed on graves as a symbol of mourning, and in Mexico, they are associated with the “Day of the Dead” festivities. In Victorian England, marigolds were often placed on graves as a tribute to the deceased.

The Number 6

In numerology, the number 6 is significant in relation to marigolds. The flower is said to represent the number 6 because it has six petals. Numerologists believe that the number 6 is associated with love and is considered to be a nurturing and caring number. It is believed to bring harmony and balance to relationships and create a warm, cozy atmosphere.

Number Symbolism
1 Initiation, New beginnings
2 Balance, Harmony
3 Creativity, Expression
4 Stability, Structure
5 Change, Adventure
6 Nurturing, Love
7 Spirituality, Intuition

In conclusion, the marigold, or calendula, is a flower that holds significant cultural symbolism. Its bright colors and unique structure have been associated with various celebrations and beliefs throughout history. Understanding the symbolism behind marigolds allows us to appreciate their beauty and value in a broader context.

Cultivation and Care Instructions

Growing marigolds, or calendula, is an easy way to add a splash of vibrant color to your garden throughout the summer. These bright and cheerful flowers are also often used in medicinal preparations to aid in wound healing and reduce inflammation. If you’re looking to add some calendula to your garden, here are some cultivation and care instructions to get you started.

  • Start from seed: Calendula seeds are readily available and can be sown directly in the garden in early spring. Choose a sunny location with well-draining soil.
  • Water regularly: Once established, calendula plants are drought tolerant, but consistent watering will ensure more vibrant blooms throughout the season. Water deeply once a week in dry weather conditions.
  • Deadhead spent blooms: Removing dead flowers regularly encourages continuous blooming throughout the season. Simply pinch off spent blooms at the base of the stem.

Calendula plants are relatively low-maintenance, but taking a few extra measures can lead to healthier plants and more abundant blooms.

To ensure the best growth and blooming potential, follow these additional cultivation and care instructions:

  • Fertilize: Marigolds thrive in nutrient-rich soil, so consider fertilizing once or twice throughout the growing season. Use a balanced fertilizer and follow package instructions for application.
  • Stake taller varieties: Some calendula varieties can grow quite tall and benefit from the support of a stake. Drive a sturdy stake into the ground near the plant and secure the stem with a plant tie.
  • Provide air circulation: Good air circulation around calendula plants can help prevent common fungal diseases. Space plants 12 to 18 inches apart to allow adequate air flow.
  • Protect from pests: Calendula plants are generally pest resistant, but aphids and spider mites can be a problem. Hose down plants with a strong stream of water or use insecticidal soap to get rid of pests.

If you’re growing calendula for medicinal purposes, be sure to harvest the flowers at the right time. The flowers are at their most potent when they are in full bloom. Cut the flowers off the plant in the morning after the dew has dried. Dry the flowers in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight.

Light: Full sun to partial shade
Soil: Well-draining, nutrient-rich soil
Water: Consistent watering throughout the growing season
Spacing: 12 to 18 inches
Fertilizer: Use a balanced fertilizer once or twice throughout the growing season

With proper care and cultivation, calendula plants can provide gorgeous blooms all summer long and even offer medicinal benefits. Start your calendula journey this season and enjoy these bright and cheerful flowers in your garden.

FAQs: Why are Marigolds Called Calendula?

1. What is the scientific name for marigold? The scientific name for marigold is calendula officinalis.
2. Where did the name calendula come from? The name calendula is derived from the Latin word “calendae,” which means “little calendar” or “little clock”.
3. Are all marigolds considered calendula? No, only the species calendula officinalis is considered marigold. Other marigold species belong to the genus Tagetes.
4. What are the benefits of calendula? Calendula has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, including treating wounds, reducing inflammation, and soothing skin irritations.
5. Can I eat calendula? Yes, calendula petals are edible and can be used in salads or as a garnish. Calendula is also used to make teas and extracts.
6. What is the difference between calendula and pot marigold? Pot marigold is another common name for calendula officinalis, so there is no difference.
7. Why are marigolds called calendula? Marigolds are called calendula because of their association with the calendar and the fact that the flowers bloom every month of the year.

Thanks for Reading!

We hope the FAQs helped answer your questions about why marigolds are called calendula. Remember, calendula is a useful and beneficial plant that has been used for centuries for medicinal and culinary purposes. Don’t forget to come back soon for more interesting and informative articles.