'Shades of Gold' Marigold
Improvement status: Breeding population
Seeds per packet: ~25
Germination tested 11/2022: 87%
Life cycle: Annual
Our source for these seeds, Wild Garden Seeds, says this about 'Shades of Gold Mix': "Monstrous plants (up to 5 ft) that produce large doubled flowers up to 3” across. Blooms range from limey to lemony yellow, to bold gold and deep orange. Dye produced from fresh or dried flowers produce a spectrum of yellow and orange hues. The large flowers make gorgeous dried garlands that will keep your home cheery through the winter months."
This Mexican marigold species, which is sometimes erroneously referred to as "African Marigold," is also called cempasúchil, cempazúchitl, or Aztec marigold. Like the related Tagetes lucida (which we are also selling under the name "pericon"), this marigold is closely associated with Mexican Day of the Dead ceremonies. There are also reports of its use in shamanic rituals. It is sometimes used as a flavoring, and a natural colorant, including by feeding it to chickens to make their egg yolks more orange, or in farmed shrimp to improve their color.
It has a long tradition of medicinal uses as well. Here's a portion of this species' Wikipedia page: "The pigments of the erect tagetes are due to the presence of carotenoids, of which the main one is lutein, which is associated with the prevention of the development of age-related eye diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration. The most intense orange tones of the flowers are related to a higher content of carotenoids, especially xanthophyll. Some studies indicate the effectiveness of the latter in the prevention of coronary artery disease, heart attacks, immune response, old age and cancer. In some regions of Mexico it is used in digestive ailments, such as stomach pain, as well as diarrhea, colic, liver problems, bile, vomiting, and indigestion. The plant also has a history of use against intestinal parasites and worms with one study indicating that it has a different mechanism than the anthelmintic drug levamisole. Other uses include respiratory diseases such as colds, flu, bronchitis and nasal congestion as well as gynecological problems."
For most gardeners, it's enough that this is an enormous and beautiful marigold, but clearly there's much more to this plant than its looks!