The marigold flower is known as two separate genera – tagetes and calendula, which contain between 63 and 71 species collectively. Tagetes are native throughout the southwestern United States, Mexico and South America; calendulas are indigenous to areas of the Mediterranean and Iran. The calendula marigolds – which are called pot marigolds – are well known for their medicinal uses which range from anti-viral to anti-inflammatory. On the other hand, some species of tegates are used to repel insects, and as perfumes and flavoring agents. Marigolds are fairly delicate in appearance, but are actually very hardy annual and herbaceous perennial plants. These flowers most commonly appear in shades of orange and yellow, but you may also see them in white, red or mixed combinations.
The marigold flower has a varied history; however, it is most noted for its curative properties. During the Civil War and First World War extracts from marigolds were used to both heal wounds and prevent them from becoming infected. Today, though, these flowers are used to treat any number of skin conditions, as well as common cuts and abrasions. Marigolds are also frequently used in the culinary arts – mostly to season dishes with a spicy flavor, or to color dishes of rice. The marigold flower also has an interesting cultural history. These flowers have long been used to decorate sacred or special places like fire pits or pavilions. As well as decorating significant spaces, these plants are frequently used in Thailand and India at weddings, religious events and festivals – mostly by way of flowing decorations or garlands. Marigold garlands are also made in households all over Nepal to commemorate the Tihar festival. In Mexico, marigold flowers are often used to decorate ofrendas, and papier mache and ceramic statues, as their scent is thought to draw back the souls of the dead.
The marigold flower is rife with a variety of symbolism. To start, these flowers are called “the flower of the sun” and are representative of passion, warmth and creativity. To others, this flower is a symbol of comfort and contentment with simplicity. As a gift, marigolds may be a great expression of either warm or fiercely passionate love, or a simple way of saying that you feel happy and comfortable with the recipient. These flowers are sometimes given in themed gift baskets, but they are most commonly used in vibrant bouquets.