Common Names: French marigold
Sub-category: Aster family
Grows to approximately 0.5 to 1 foot tall by 0.4 to 0.75 feet wide. Flowers are single, semi-double, double or crested, 1 to 2 inches in diameter, with colors including yellow, orange, red, and multiple variations of such on the same flower. The flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects. Pinnate leaves with toothed, lance-shaped leaflets are coated with oily glands that produce a pungent scent.
While not a native of Connecticut, it is very common in flower gardens and edgings. Blooms June until first frost.
Edible Notes: The dried and ground flower petals constitute a popular spice in the Republic of Georgia in the Caucasus, where they are known as imeruli shaphrani (= 'Imeretian Saffron') from their pungency and golden color and particular popularity in the Western province of Imereti. The spice imparts a unique, rather earthy flavor to Georgian cuisine, in which it is considered especially compatible with the flavors of cinnamon and cloves. It is also an essential ingredient in the spice mixture khmeli-suneli, which is to Georgian cookery what garam masala is to the cookery of North India - with which Georgia shares elements of the Mughlai cuisine.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.