marigold, any plant of the genus Tagetes of the family Asteraceae (aster family), mostly Central and South American herbs cultivated elsewhere as garden flowers. The two common species of marigold, both annuals, are distinguished as African, or Aztec ( T. erecta ), and French ( T. patula ) although both are native to Mexico and Guatemala. The African commonly has large yellow or orange flower heads and the strong-scented foliage typical of the genus, but an odorless kind has been developed; the French has smaller flower heads, single or double, usually two tones of yellow or orange and red. Other plants sharing the name marigold include marsh marigold (in the buttercup family), bur marigold, and pot marigold (see calendula). Marigolds are classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Asterales, family Asteraceae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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