October Birth Flowers

The marigold is the October birth flower.

The marigold is the October birth flower.

The October birth flower is the calendula, more commonly known as the marigold. The flower, which is an annual flower, is sometimes referred to as the summer bride. Under the right conditions, marigolds bloom throughout the summer, and the blooms of the marigold follow the direction of the sun’s path during the day.

Meaning

Marigolds symbolize grace, and individuals born in October are said to be warm, open individuals with easy-going personalities. The flowers are also symbolic of passion and creativity. Some cultures considered marigolds to be sacred flowers. In fact, the marigold has a history of being placed at the holy statues of Hindu gods in India. The Aztec Indians also decorated their shrines and temples with marigolds. In Mexico, people continue to use the petals of wild marigolds to decorate grave sites.

Description

Marigolds are actually a type of herb. Although the flowers are not generally grown for that use, some cultures use the plant for medicinal purposes. Native to subtropical regions in the western hemisphere, the flowers do not grow well in cold climates. Marigolds thrive in areas with warm and temperate climates. Common in the United States, Europe and Africa, the flowers bloom until autumn. Marigolds are fairly resilient flowering plants, affected by few insects or diseases. The flowers need full sunlight and well-drained soil. Care involves removing dead flower heads from the plants to help ensure they continue to bloom throughout the summer.

History

Despite the flower's long European history, marigolds originally came from Central and South America.The flowers were first discovered in Brazil by Portuguese explorers in the early 16th century. From there, the Portuguese took the seeds of the marigold to India. The plant also made its way to Africa, where it adapted particularly well. Spanish explorers are responsible for bringing the flower to Europe. The African marigold, also known as the American marigold, can grow to about 3 feet tall. The bright yellow and orange blooms measure up to 5 inches across. This type of marigold is generally used as a bedding plant. The marigold gets its name from a similar flowering plant native to the southern regions of Europe. Because of its bright gold color, the English named the flower Mary’s Gold referring to the Virgin Mary. The name was later shortened to marigold.

Marigold Types

Other types of marigolds include French marigolds, which grow 5 to 18 inches in height. Colors of the flowers are orange, yellow or red. Sometimes flowers are a mix of red and orange. The blooms of French marigolds are small, usually measuring 2 inches across. Signet marigolds have lacy foliage and flowers that are yellow to orange in color. This variety of marigold is edible. The flowers have a spicy tarragon flavor and give off a lemony fragrance. Signet marigolds have clusters of small and single flowers and are often used in window boxes or for edging flowerbeds. The mule marigold -- another popular variety -- is a hybrid of the tall African and dwarf French marigolds.

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