Tagetes species vary in size from 0.1 to 2.2 m tall. Most species have pinnate green leaves. Blooms naturally occur in golden, orange, yellow, and white colors, often with maroon highlights. Floral heads are typically (1-) to 4–6 cm diameter, generally with both ray florets and disc florets. In horticulture, they tend to be planted as annuals, although the perennial species are gaining popularity.
Depending on the species, Tagetes grow well in almost any sort of soil. Most horticultural selections grow best in soil with good drainage
The name Tagetes is from the name of the Etruscan Tages.
The common name in English, “marigold”, is derived from “Mary’s gold”, a name first applied to a similar plant native to Europe, Calendula officinalis. See marigold for other plants commonly called marigold. In Nepal, it is called ‘शयपत्री’ that means hundred-leafed flower, referring to its many florets per head.
The most commonly cultivated varieties of Tagetes are known variously as African marigolds (usually referring to cultivars and hybrids of Tagetes erecta, although this species is not native to Africa), or French marigolds (usually referring to hybrids and cultivars of Tagetes patula, many of which were developed in France, although the species is not native to that country). The so called signet marigolds are hybrids derived mostly from Tagetes tenuifolia.
Tagetes minuta is the source of commercial “Tagetes oil” used in industry. It is now a naturalized species in Africa, Hawaii, and Australia, and is considered an invasive species (weed) in some regions.
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