Characteristics of wild marigold (Calendula arvensis)

Within the Calendula genus of plants , one of the best known for its medicinal properties is the common calendula, although we can also find other very close and physically similar species, such as the one that takes center stage in this article, known as wild calendula ( Calendula arvensis ).

The behavior of this group of plants is upholstery, which is why they are usually used from an ornamental point of view to cover ground areas, given their fantastic flowering and low growth. In addition, it develops in the Iberian Peninsula with great ease, since it finds the perfect weather conditions for it, with very little care and maintenance.

In this article we are going to know in depth everything that the wild calendula can offer us, scientifically known as Calendula arvensis . eye! Not to be confused with the common calendula, since they are physically very similar.

CHARACTERISTICS OF WILD MARIGOLD ( CALENDULA ARVENSIS)

The Asteraceae ( Asteraceae ) is a very large unit of plants that includes more than 30,000 species, many of them with a fantastic flowering. If we narrow the fence a little more, we come across the genus Calendula , which includes a much more limited number of species (from 12 to 20)

The  Calendula arvensis family  is  Asteraceae , a huge grouping of plants with almost 33,000 species with truly spectacular blooms. If we are looking for small plant species with large, lively flowers, we must undoubtedly look for this family.

For this reason, within the Asteraceae, we have found a very interesting plant commonly known as calendula or wild wonder flower, among other names. It should not be confused with the main species of the genus  Calendula , known as  Calendula officinalis .

Common names:  wild marigold, wild marigold, field marigold.

IDENTIFICATION AND MORPHOLOGY

The wild marigold is a herbaceous plant, with numerous lateral stems and that grows to a maximum height of 30 cm. The most attractive thing about this plant is its flowering, orange in appearance and large flowers. The flowering season occurs between April and October, so we will spend all spring and summer enjoying the spectacle of this wallcovering plant.

Its development is annual and we can find it in many countries in Europe and Asia, but especially in thermally warmer areas, where its flowering lasts much longer. As a curiosity, we have before us a species that has heliotropism, which means that its flowers try to position themselves looking directly at the Sun to better capture the lighting of the environment.

As you are already intuiting, Calendula arvensis needs to be cultivated in areas with a lot of light and direct sun.

TAXONOMY

  • Order:  Asterales
  • Family:  Asteraceae
  • Genus:  Calendula
  • Species: Calendula arvensis

LOCATION AND HABITAT

The main wild marigold habitat is southern Europe, with much warmer summers that allow maximum expression of its flowering. Therefore, in Spain we can find it distributed throughout the country, although preferably in the south: Andalusia, Murcia, Valencian Community and the Balearic Islands.

If we look outside of Spain, we can find populations of Calendula arvensis in North Africa (Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria), the area of ​​Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, and nearby countries and even central Europe and Eastern Europe.

CALENDULA ARVENSIS GROW GUIDE

If we decide to grow wild calendula to form an upholstery set that covers the ground in our garden, we will know its main needs. We anticipate that it is a resistant species that adapts very well to all types of soil and coexists favorably in warm areas.

CLIMATOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Calendula arvensis supports a wide range of temperatures , with a preference for the warmer areas of Europe. Hence, it develops very well in Spain. To achieve a full and long-lasting flowering (from spring to early autumn), the ideal temperature range is between 18-32 ºC.

At the lighting level, it is a herbaceous species that needs a lot of lighting and is planted with full sun exposure. In fact, flowering is determined by the lighting where it has been grown in the garden.

SOIL TYPE

Given its wide distribution throughout most of Europe, Calendula arvensis has been able to adapt very well to all types of soils and textures , preferring those soils with the greatest accumulation of sand. Its flowering is stimulated if the soil is considered fertile and there is a good amount of organic matter.

In fact, this species usually grows spontaneously in arable areas with a good disposition to nitrogen in the soil. There is no proper pH range for its development, as it tends to grow in both acidic and alkaline areas.

Before sowing in the garden, it is advisable to mix the soil with a good proportion of compost or organic matter that we have produced. An amount of 2 to 3 kg / m2 is enough to have several years of nutrient release. A recommended manure can be animal manure, choosing a balanced formula such as equine manure .

IRRIGATION AND SUBSCRIBER

Calendula arvensis grows in prairies and fertile land only with the water of the area. However, in very dry areas with hot summers, it is almost mandatory to have an irrigation system.

If we control this parameter well, we will have a wallcovering species with a magnificent quality of flowering and long-haul, until almost the arrival of the cold in autumn. In spring and summer, we will water 2 or 3 times a week, being able to leave the soil dry before the next watering.

The wild marigold is not usually fertilized with mineral fertilizers, only with the organic matter contributed to the soil. If we have a group of young plants and we want to stimulate their development to achieve a magnificent flowering, it is advisable to use granulated fertilizer with a balanced ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. For this plant, applications of NPK 12-8-16 in early spring work very well , at a rate of 20 to 30 grams per square meter.

CALENDULA ARVENSIS MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

The Calendula genus has always been related to medicinal properties and agricultural uses, especially as a repellent against pests and different insects . For our part, its ornamental use is more than justified, although we must also know that it has certain medicinal and cosmetic properties.

At the level of the epidermis, this plant has always been related to a moisturizing and antimicrobial power. In fact, it is common to see different brands of gels and shampoos containing calendula extract in supermarkets.

The medicinal power of this plant is explained by knowing what its active principles are, especially contained in flowers and leaves.

Composition : zingiberenol 1, eremoligenol, β-curcumene, zingiberenol 2 and (E, Z) -farnesol.

The uses usually collected for this medicinal plant are the following:

  • Food uses : the leaves can be consumed as a vegetable in different salads and condiments.
  • Manufacture of dyes : the flowers have a yellow color that can be used for the manufacture of dyes.
  • Medicinal uses : the extraction of its components based on alcohol or any other solvent is applied to the skin, with antioxidant and antimicrobial activity.

On the contrary, it must be considered that the toxic potential that Calendula arvensis flowers may have if ingested is currently being studied .

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