Name: Calendula officinalis aka pot marigold
Type of Plant: Annual plant that has edible flowers, commonly growing 1 to 2 feet tall. This is not like the true marigold, which is in the genus Tagetes, although both plants are in the sunflower family, Asteraceae.
Why I Love This Plant: I love this plant for several reasons, but primarily for the visual look of the flower petals on food. Since the petals aren’t very flavorful, they won’t detract from the taste of other ingredients but they will add their beautiful orange color to a dish.
I love that this plant is easy to grow from seed…in fact, if often self-seeds in gardens, so learn to recognize the foliage in order to protect or save young plants.
A Word to the Wise: This is a cool weather annual, so in very hot summers it might stop flowering. So it’s not one to plant huge borders of, or to rely on for the sole flower in a container. It is, however, a good plant to mix in with other edible flowers in beds or containers. Calendula combines well with Nasturtiums, bachelor’s buttons and borage.
The leaves are also edible but are a bitter herb, so cook with them accordingly.