Nancy W. Callan, Mal P. Westcott, Susan Wall-MacLane, and James B. Miller
Western Agricultural Research Center
Montana State University

Introduction

Calendula (English marigold, pot marigold, Calendula officinalis L.) is an annual with bright yellow or orange daisy-like flowers. The flowers are harvested while in full bloom and dried for use as a medicinal or culinary herb. The entire flower heads or the petals alone are used. An industrial oil may be expressed from the seeds and an absolute oil is obtained from the flowers. Laying chickens may be fed orange calendula flowers to give the egg yolks a deep yellow color.

Calendula is fast-growing and easy to cultivate. It may be direct-seeded in the field and begins to flower in about two months. Harvest of calendula is time-consuming because the flowers form over a long period of time and individual flowers mature quickly. Over-mature flowers are undesirable in an herbal product. Frequent hand harvest is necessary to obtain the highest quality product, but some mechanization of harvest may be possible for a lower-grade product or for seed for industrial use.

 

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