That is the question... Marigold or calendula?
Which one to grow?
Are they the same plant?
The answer is simple: yes.... and no.
Plants are often known under their common name. Those name reflect the culture, the area and the usage sometimes they have. Yet the common name can vary greatly depending on the area and of course the language.
This state of affair can make it tricky to be sure we talk about the same plant particularly when we consider medicinal plant.
Carl Von Linne, a scientist (bless his soul and cotton socks) came up with a solution in 1753. He suggested to name plant with a Latin name which would be the same all over the world. A Latin name comprise typically of two words. The first one has a capital letter at the beginning while the second word is in lower cases. Both words are written in italic.
The Latin name to identify a plant without any doubt has been, indeed, a grand idea. No more confusion when exchanging information about a plant. Although this system has been in place for quite sometimes now, there can still be some misunderstanding regarding a plant.
I am afraid marigold is one of them.
Marigold is a common name given to two different plants.
One is Tagates patula. It is often found a decorative plant.
Here is one specimen found at a nursery.
The other plant which has sometimes the common name of marigold applied to is Calendula officinalis. Here is a specimen growing at The Herbal Gardener.
This latest plant is a medicinal herb which is reknown as a specialist for the skin. It is rich in anti-oxydant and anti-inflammatory. Its properties where recognised and used by the ancient greeks and is still highly prized for its healing properties for the skin.
Hope this help create a crystal clear view on the situation about marigold. If you are asked about marigold, you can safely reply: "Which one?".