Thursday, January 22, 2009

In my Hot 5 before Christmas, I flippantly asked why French Marigolds were French when they originated in Mexico. This has only led to more questions. Serious ones! Why are African Marigolds African when they also originated in Mexico? I love this little irony; the most popular African Marigold varieties for many years have been the “Inca” series. Back to South America although the geography may be a little out. More recently we have been growing “Antigua” Dwarf African Marigolds. Africa in the West Indies. Of course the Americans have to get in on the act. African Marigolds are regularly, but not universally known as American Marigolds. It was seriously proposed in the US senate during the 1960’s that the “American Marigold” be adopted as the US floral emblem (can’t remember the source of that gem but I assure you it’s fact) and searching for the origin of the term French Marigold I notice that they are “American” French Marigolds. It’s no wonder that another popular dwarf African Marigold series is called “Discovery”.

Now, I have as good a collection of books on annuals as most and only one says anything about the origin of the name “French Marigold” and none say anything about African. I have searched the web, to no avail. Just wasted a lot of time. My uncle thinks that the term French refers to the style and pattern of floret. My book says that French Marigolds were introduced to Europe via France (plausible), but a website tells me that they were brought to Europe by the Portuguese in the 16th C. I can’t find any credible reference to the introduction of Marigolds to European gardening, which is a little unusual.

Does any one know? Does any one care? If you have any ideas please let me know.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Meet Garden Bloggers