The History of Marigolds
Marigolds are categorized by the genus Tagetes, the name of an Etruscan God. Marigolds are very popular throughout the world.
In Asia, Marigold are used for Hindu rituals, Buddhist worship and other religious ceremonies. In the Americas, Marigolds are used to celebrate "The Day of the Dead" commemorating ancestors' spirits. Marigolds are also becoming popular flower to celebrate Halloween.
There are 56 species in the Tagetes genus including both perennial and annual. Within the Tagetes genus, species can be found in hot, arid climates on slope and valleys from New Mexico to Argentina. Several species can be found in Africa.
Tagetes erecta was found on The African coast by a Spanish priest in the 17th century, planted and allowed to spread naturally. It was then found by a British merchant, shipped to England and called African Marigold. Today, Tagetes erecta is bred to produce hybrid varieties for ornamental markets.
There are also varieties that are cultivated to produce Lutien, an animal food additive for chicken feed, used to improve the coloration of egg yolk. Lutien is also added to Vitamin supplements to reduce retinal degradation in humans.