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Gerard's Herbal - Part 3

Gerard's Herbal - CHAP. 255. Of Marigolds.

CHAP. 255. Of Marigolds.


Fig. 1098. Kinds of Marigold (1-7)

The Description.

            1. The Greater Double Marigold hath many large, fat, broad leaves, springing immediately from a fibrous or thready root; the upper sides of the leaves are of a deep green, and the lower side of a more light and shining green: among which rise up stalks somewhat hairy, and also somewhat jointed, and full of a spongeous pith. The flowers in the top are beautiful, round, very large and double, something sweet, with a certain strong smell, of a light saffron colour, or like pure gold: from the which follow a number of long crooked seeds, especially the outermost, or those that stand about the edges of the flower; which being sown commonly bring forth single flowers, whereas contrariwise those seeds in the middle are lesser, and for the most part bring forth such flowers as that was from whence it was taken.

            2. The Common Double Marigold hath many fat, thick, crumpled leaves set upon a gross and spongeous stalk: whereupon do grow fair double yellow flowers, having for the most part in the middle a bunch of threads thick thrust together: which being past there succeed such crooked seeds as the first described. The root is thick and hard, with some threads annexed thereto.

            3. The smaller or finer leaved double Marigold groweth upright; having for the most part one stem or fat spongeous stalk, garnished with smooth and fat leaves confusedly. The flowers grow at the top of the small branches, very double, but lesser than the other, consisting of more fine jaggedness, and of a fair yellow gold colour. The root is like the precedent.

            4. The Globe-flowering Marigold hath many large broad leaves rising immediately forth of the ground; among which riseth up a stalk of the height of a cubit, dividing itself toward the top into other smaller branches, set or garnished with the like leaves, but confusedly, or without order. The flowers grow at the top of the stalks, very double; the small leaves whereof are set in comely order by certain ranks or rows, as sundry lines are in a globe, traversing the whole compass of the same; whereupon it took the name orbiculata.

            5. The fifth sort of double Marigold differeth not from the last described, saving in the colour of the flowers; for this plant bringeth forth flowers of a straw or light yellow colour, and the others not so, wherein consisteth the difference.

            All these five here described, differ nothing but in the bigness and littleness of the plants and flowers, and in the intenseness and remissness of their colour, which is either orange, yellow, or of a straw colour.

            6. The Marigold with single flowers differeth not from those with double flowers, but it that it consisteth of fewer leaves, which we therefore term single, in comparison of the rest, and that maketh the difference.

            7. This Fruitful or Much-Bearing Marigold is likewise called of the vulgar sort of women, Jackanapes-On-Horseback: it hath leaves, stalks, and roots like the common sort of Marigold, differing in the shape of his flowers, for this plant doth bring forth at the top of the stalk one flower like the other Marigolds from the which start forth sundry other small flowers, yellow likewise, and of the same fashion as the first, which if I be not deceived cometh to pass per accidens, or by chance, as Nature oftentimes liketh to play with other flowers, or as children are born with two thumbs on one hand, and such like, which living to be men, do get children like unto others; even so is the seed of this Marigold, which if it be sown, it brings forth not one flower in a thousand like the plant from whence it was taken.

            8. The other fruitful Marigold is doubtless a degenerate kind, coming by chance from the seed of the double Marigold, whereas for the most part the other cometh of the seed of the single flowers, wherein consisteth the difference. The flower of this (wherein the only difference consists) you shall find expressed at the bottom of the fourth figure.

Fig. 1099. Mountain Marigold (9)

            9. The Alpish or Mountain Marigold, which Lobel setteth down for Nardis celtica, or Plantago alpinis, is called by Tabernamontanus, Caltha, or Calendula alpina: and because I see it rather resembles a Marigold, than any other plant, I have not thought it amiss to insert it in this place, leaving the consideration thereof unto the friendly reader, or to a further consideration, because it is a plant that I am not well acquainted withal; yet I do read that it hath a thick root, growng aslope under the upper crust of the earth, of an aromatical or spicy taste, and somewhat biting, with many thready strings annexed thereto: from which rise up broad thick and rough leaves of an overworn green colour, not unlike to those of Plantain: among which there riseth up a rough and tender stalk set with the like leaves; on the top wherof cometh forth a single yellow flower, paled about the edges with small leaves of a light yellow, tending to a straw colour. The middle of the flower is composed of a bundle of threads, thick thrust together, such as is in the middle of the Field Daisy, of a deep yellow colour.

            This plant is all one with the two described in the next Chapter: they vary only thus; the stalks and leaves are sometimes hairy, otherwhiles smooth; the flower is yellow, or else blue. I having three figures ready cut, think it not amis to give you one to express each variety.

            10. The Wild Marigold is like unto the single garden Marigold, but altogether lesser; and the whole plant perisheth at the first approach of winter, and recovereth itself again by falling of the seed.

The Place.

            These Marigolds, with double flowers especially, are set and sown in gardens: the rest, their titles do set forth their natural being.

The Time.

            The Marigold flowereth from April or May even until winter, and in winter also, if it be warm.

The Names.

            The Marigold is called Calendula: it is to be seen in flower in the Calends almost of every month: it is also called Chrysanthemum, of his golden colour: of some, Caltha, and Caltha poetarum: whereof Columella and Virgil do write, saying, That Caltha is a flower of a yellow colour: whereof Virgil in his Bucolics, the second Eclogue, writeth thus

Tum Casia atque aliis intexens suavibus herbis
Mollia Luteola pingit vaccinia Caltha

And then she'll Spike and such sweet herbs infold
And paint the Jacinth with the Marigold.

            Columella also in his tenth book of gardens hath these words;

Candida Leucoia & flaventia lumina Calthæ.
Stock-Gillyflowers exceeding white,
And Marigolds most yellow bright.

            It is thought to be Gromphena plinii: in Low Dutch it is called Goudt Bloemen: in High Dutch, Kingleblumen: in French, Sousii & Goude: in Italian, Fior d'ogni mese: in English, Marigolds, and Ruds.

The Temperature and Virtues.

            A. The flower of the Marigold is of temperature hot, almost in the second degree, especially when it is dry: it is thought to strengthen and comfort the heart very much, and also to withstand poison, as also to be good against pestilent agues, being taken any way. Fuchsius hath written, That being drunk with wine it bringeth down the terms, and that the fume thereof expelleth the secondine or afterbirth.

            B. But the leaves of the herb are hotter; for there is in them a certain biting, but by reason of the moisture joined with it, it doth not by and by show itself, by means of which moisture they mollify the belly, and procure solubleness if it be used as a pot-herb.

            C. Fuchsius writeth, That if the mouth be washed with the juice it helpeth the tooth-ache.

            D. The flowers and leaves of Marigolds being distilled, and the water dropped into red and watery eyes, ceaseth the inflammation, and taketh away the pain.

            E. Conserve made of the flowers and sugar taken in the morning fasting, cureth the trembling of the heart, and is also given in time of plague or penitence, or corruption of the air.

            F. The yellow leaves of the flowers are dried and kept throughout Dutchland against winter, to be put into broths, in physical potions, and for divers other purposes in such quantity, that in some grocers' or spice-sellers' houses are to be found barrels filled with them, and retailed by the penny more or less, insomuch that no broths are well made without dried Marigolds.

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