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Calendula Officinalis, Pot Marigold - Red, Black centred, double

£0.95

Deep orange / red flowers with black centres. Double flowered.

Easy to grow hardy annual, often grown to add colour to flower beds, borders & containers, blooming from summer to autumn. 

Pot marigold is one of the best known and versatile herbs in Western herbal medicine and is also a popular domestic remedy.

Sow indoors 6 weeks before last frost, setting out 12 weeks after last frost when warm.

Or sow directly in flowering position late spring or September, thinning to 20-30 cm spacing. 

Plant seed 6mm deep. 

Full sun, well drained soil. Prefers relatively poor soil. 

Height 30- 60 cm, spread to 30 cm. 

Easily self sows.

The growing plant acts as an insect deterrent, it reduces the soil eelworm population.

The flowers are used cosmetically. They can be used in skin lotions and when added to hair shampoos will lighten the hair colour. The flowers are an alternative ingredient of 'Quick Return' compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost.

A yellow dye is obtained from the boiled flowers. An essential oil is obtained from the plant. It is used rather sparingly, in view of the difficulty in obtaining it, in perfumes that have a rather sharp tang.

The flowers close when wet weather is likely to occur and they can therefore be used as a rough means of weather forecasting.

Edible uses

Leaves - raw. When eaten they first of all impart a viscid sweetness, followed by a strong penetrating taste of a saline nature. They are very rich in vitamins and minerals and are similar to Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value.

Fresh petals are chopped and added to salads. The dried petals have a more concentrated flavour and are used as a seasoning in soups, cakes etc. High in vitamins A and C. An edible yellow dye is obtained from the petals. A saffron substitute, it is used to colour and flavour rice, soups etc. It is also used as a hair rinse, adding golden tints to brown or auburn hair. A tea is made from the petals and flowers, that made from the petals is less bitter.

There is no record of the seed being edible, but it contains up to 37% protein and 46% oil.

http://practicalplants.org/wiki/Calendula_officinalis

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