Common name: Peacock Flower, Pride of Barbados, Poinciana, Red Bird of Paradise, Mexican Bird of Paradise, Dwarf Poinciana, Flamboyan-de-jardin.
Hindi: गुलेतूरा Guletura • Manipuri: ক্রিশ্নচূরা Krishnachura • Marathi: Sankasur • Telugu: Ratnagandhi • Kannada: Kenjige • Oriya: Krishnochuda • Tamil: Mayurkonrai • Malayalam: Settimandaram • Bengali: ক্রিশ্নচূড়া Krishnachura, রাধাচূড়া Radhachura • Sanskrit: Sidhakya
Botanical name: Caesalpinia pulcherrima
Family: Fabaceae, Caesalpiniaceae (Pea family)(Gulmohar family)
Species: C. pulcherrima
Caesalpinia pulcherrima is a species of flowering plant in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the tropics and subtropics of the Americas and the world. It could be native to the West Indies, but its exact origin is unknown due to widespread cultivation, like many other plants, Peacock flower has escaped cultivation and become established in warm climate regions throughout the world, it flourishes during summer when the weather is hottest and other vegetation fades. Nobody can justify its origins but it was about 1680 that the tree was recorded as growing in the gardens of India.
The name Caesalpinia honors a 16th century botanist and philosopher ‘Andrea Caesalpini‘ and ‘Pulcherrima’ means “very pretty” is derived from a from a famous family ‘Leguminosae’ and it subfamily is Caesalpineae. The tree is famous in India and is known in hindi as ‘Kunish Churin‘, the Bengali people know it as ‘Krishna Chura‘ and ‘Radha Chura‘.
Peacock flower is an evergreen shrub or small tree in frost free climates, a deciduous to semi-deciduous shrub in areas with only occasional, slight frost, and a returning perennial in temperate climates with mild winters (down to 19°F (-7°C).
The tree can rise upto 25m and its low branches form an open and spreading bush. It is a shrub growing to 3 m tall. The leaves are bipinnate, 20–40 cm long, bearing 3-10 pairs of pinnae, each with 6-10 pairs of leaflets 15–25 mm long and 10–15 mm broad. The fruit is a pod 6–12 cm long. This exotic plant is used extensively for its extravagant, showy flowers and its incredible heat tolerance. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters 8-10″ (20-25 cm) tall throughout most of the year in tropical climates and in late summer and fall where frosts occur. The most common colours are red and orange or a combination of red and yellow, but there are also forms with pure yellow flowers (often called yellow bird of paradise) and forms with flowers in shades of pink.
The inch-wide flowers have slightly ruffled petals and 10 long, red protruding stamens as accents (except the pure yellow form). As the inflorescence elongates, it produces new flowers at the top 1/3, and promptly sheds the lower old flowers. The pods form quickly at the bottom of the inflorescence, and the flower buds open a few at a time, so that buds, flowers, and seed pods appear simultaneously. The flowers are borne in racemes up to 20 cm long, each flower with five yellow, orange or red petals. Flowers, which appear in clusters on long erect stems, are smalled than those of Gulmohar and have exceptionally long stamens and a prominent pistil which protrudes from the center. Beautifully fringed, orange and red blooms cover this magnificent,West Indian shrub with deeply divided foliage. The most common color is red-orange, but one variety has pure yellow flowers.
C. pulcherrima is the most widely cultivated species in the genus Caesalpinia. It is a striking ornamental plant, widely grown in domestic and public gardens and has a beautiful inflorescence in yellow, red and orange. Its small size and the fact that it tolerates pruning well allows it to be planted in groups to form a hedgerow; it can be also used to attract hummingbirds.
Culture: Peacock flower is very easy to grow in alkaline to acidic, well-drained soils. This is a fast growing plant and moderately tolerant of salty conditions. Fertilizer application is hardly necessary, especially if it is grown in adequately mulched soils.
Light: This plant enjoys full sun to light shade and loves heat. Best growth and flower production is in full sun. It gets leggy in shade and blooming is reduced.
Moisture: Peacock flower is drought tolerant once established, but performs best with regular irrigation while blooming.
Hardiness: Even under frost free conditions Peacock flower may lose some of its leaves when temperatures drop to 50-40°F (10-5°C), but it recovers quickly. It can also survive a yearly freeze. Peacock flower dies to the ground following periods of mild frost, but it comes back reliable, albeit late, in middle spring. Don’t give up on it! Peacock flower has survived temperatures as low as 18°F (-7.8°C). It can be grown as an annual in colder climates.
Propagation: Peacock flower is easy to start from seeds. Germination will be speeded up if the seeds are nicked with a file before planting. Under good growing conditions, peacock flower will self sow or spread by root suckers (not invasive though). Soak seed in warm water for 24 hours before sowing. Sow into pots or trays of moist soilbased potting mix and cover with a fine sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Place in a propagator or warm place, and keep at a constant temperature of between 20-25C (68- 77F). After sowing, do not exclude light as this helps germination. Keep the surface of the compost moist but not waterlogged; germination can take 1-4 months.
Pruning: Peacock flower benefits from pruning, and can be shaped to tree form or shrubby bush form. It grows quickly before flowering, but while flowering growth virtually stops. Prune to any desired height in late autumn or winter to control height and spread. To get a bushier, more compact shrub you can even cut Peacock flower to the ground in winter andwill recover nicely. It flowers on new wood so do not prune in the spring as this could delay flowering until September, meaning four to five months of flowering loss.
Red Bird of Paradise is the National flower of the Caribbean island of Barbados, and is depicted on the Queen’s personal Barbadian flag.
The flower is considered sacred to the Siva of India and the Hindus think it is very much sacrosanct.
Food: All seeds of Caesalpinia are poisonous. However the seeds of some species are edible before the seed reach maturity (e.g immature seeds of C. pulcherrima) or with treatment (C. bonduc toxicity is reduced after roasting).
Is an antioxidant – that scavenges free radicals and prevents LDL cholesterol from being damaged. Behaves like an antihistamine. May help protect against heart disease and cancer. Falvonoids found in the plant possess anti-inflammatory activities.
1. Helps in cases of cholera.
2. For abortion
3. To prevent recurrence of diseases, like malaria.
4. Promotes menstrual flow.
5. As a purgative or the watery evacuation of the bowels.
6. For producing energy.
7. To relieve chest affections.
8. To reduce or eliminate fever.
9. Widely used for the cure of bronchitis, asthma and for malarial fevers.
How to Use:
The decoction of the roots is given for cholera.
The infusion of the leaves or the bark is used for abortion.
The infusion of the leaves is used to prevent recurrence like malaria, promote menstrual flow, work as a purgative, and for producing energy.
The infusion of the flowers is used to relieve chest affections, reduce or eliminate fever, cure bronchitis, asthma and malarial fevers.
A combination of the roots, bark, and leaves may be boiled into a medicinal tea, which is given to patients as a treatment for fever, jaundice, kidney disease, and gastrointestinal disorders. Gargling with the tea is also said to treat sores in the mouth or throat.
A liquid extracted from the flowers of the plant is often used topically as an eye wash or applied to the body as an insecticide. The liquid is sometimes consumed to treat a variety of other conditions. Patients with severe gastrointestinal disorders, including dysentery or severe diarrhea, may also be given the fruit of the plant, which is said to have astringent properties, to eat. These properties help the plant to dry out the intestinal tract.
The plant is known, however, to be an antiseptic and an anti-inflammatory. These qualities may make it useful in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders and internal or external wounds.
Preliminary medical studies have also indicated that Caesalpinia pulcherrima may also assist in weight loss. Mice given enzymes that are found in this plant were able to lose weight at a faster rate than the mice in the control group. Despite its potential medicinal uses.
Maroon medicine men in Suriname have long known some of the medicinal uses for Caesalpinia pulcherrima, which is known as ayoowiri. Four grams from the root is also said to induce abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Most references say that peacock flower is poisonous, but people in central Africa do eat the seeds, presumably after boiling in several changes of water. Don’t plant this sharply thorny shrub near pedestrian traffic.
Caesalpinia pulcherrima is also known to be toxic at certain doses, and it may be dangerous for patients to use folk cures that include this plant.
Toxicity: Toxic to Dogs, Toxic to Cats, Toxic to Horses
Toxic Principles: GI Irritants, Tannins
Clinical Signs: Vomiting and diarrhea.
Common name: Periwinkle, Madagascar rosy periwinkle, Vinca, Cape periwinkle, Rose periwinkle, Rosy periwinkle, Old-maid, Boa-noite (“good night”) and Maria-sem-vergonha (“Shameless Maria”, name shared with Impatiens and Thunbergia alata) in Portuguese (American), Vinca-de-madagáscar, Vinca-de-gato (“cats’ vinca”), Vinca-branca (white vinca), Vinca or boa-noite in Portuguese (European), Vinca del Cabo, Vinca rosa (“pink vinca”) or Vinca rosada (“roseous vinca”) in Spanish, putica (“little whore”) in Venezuela.
Hindi: Sadabahar सदाबहार • Malayalam: Shavam Naari • Marathi: सदाफूली Sadaphuli • Bengali: নযনতাৰা Nayantara
Botanical name: Catharanthus roseus
Family: Apocynaceae (oleander family)
Species: C. roseus
Synonyms: Vinca rosea, Lochnera rosea, Ammocallis rosea
Catharanthus roseus is an evergreen subshrub or herbaceous plant. Catharanthus roseus is a fleshy perennial growing to 32 in (80 cm) high. It has glossy, dark green, oval leaves (1-2 inches long) and flowers all summer long. The blooms of the natural wild plants are a pale pink with a purple “eye” in their centers.
Erect or decumbent suffrutex, to 1 m, usually with white latex. Stems green, often suffused with purple or red. Leaves decussate, petiolate; lamina variable, elliptic, obovate or narrowly obovate; apex mucronate. Flowers 4-5 cm, showy, white or pink, with a purple, red, pale yellow or white centre. Follicle 1.2-3.8 × 0.2-0.3 cm, dehiscent on the adaxial side. Seeds 1-2 mm, numerous, grooved on one side.
In the wild, it is an endangered plant; the main cause of decline is habitat destruction by slash and burn agriculture. It is also however widely cultivated and is naturalised in subtropical and tropical areas of the world.
Periwinkle is a happy-go-lucky small shrub. It cares not for the world. It rejoices in sun or rain, or the seaside, in good or indifferent soil and often grows wild. It is known as ‘Sadabahar’ meaning ‘always in bloom’ and is used for worship. Numerous soft-wood branches from the ground, give it an appearance of fullness. Closely planted it can have an impressive effect with its various colours. This is one flower which can be found all over India. Lots of cultivars have been developed with various colors, from red to white, Apricot Cooler Improved, Aztec Pink Magic, Blue Pearl, Cooler Icy Pink, Cooler Orchid, Cooler Peppermint, Experimental Dee
Catharanthus roseus is native to the Indian Ocean island of Madagascar. This herb is now common in many tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, including the southern United States, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands.
As an ornamental plant, it is appreciated for its hardiness in dry and nutritionally deficient conditions, popular in subtropical gardens where temperatures never fall below 5 °C to 7 °C, and as a warm-season bedding plant in temperate gardens. It is noted for its long flowering period, throughout the year in tropical conditions, and from spring to late autumn, in warm temperate climates. Full sun and well-drained soil are preferred. Numerous cultivars have been selected, for variation in flower colour (white, mauve, peach, scarlet and reddish-orange), and also for tolerance of cooler growing conditions in temperate regions. Notable cultivars include ‘Albus’ (white flowers), ‘Grape Cooler’ (rose-pink; cool-tolerant), the Ocellatus Group (various colours), and ‘Peppermint Cooler’ (white with a red centre; cool-tolerant).
Long before modern researcher learned of the plant’s valuable and varied properties, people in faraway places were using the Madagascar periwinkle for a host of medicinal purposes.
In India, they treated wasp sting with the juice from the leaves.In Hawai’i they prescribed an extract of the boiled plant to arrest bleeding.
In Central America and parts of South America, they made a gargle to ease soar throats and chest ailments and laryngitis.
In Cuba, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and other islands, an extract of the flower was commonly administered as an eyewash for the eyes of infants.
In Africa, leaves are used for menorrhagia and rheumatism.
Surinamese boil ten leaves and ten flowers together for diabetes.
Bahamians take flower decoction for asthma and flatulence, and the entire plant for tuberculosis.
In Mauritius, the leaves infusion s given for dyspepsia and indigestion.
In Vietnam it is taken for diabetes and malaria.
Curacao and Bermuda natives take the plant for high blood pressure.
Indochinese use the stalks and leaves for dysmenorrhea.
The species has long been cultivated for herbal medicine and as an ornamental plant. In Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) the extracts of its roots and shoots, though poisonous, is used against several diseases. In traditional Chinese medicine, extracts from it have been used against numerous diseases, including diabetes, malaria, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The substances vinblastine and vincristine extracted from the plant are used in the treatment of leukemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
This conflict between historical indigenous use, and recent patents on C.roseus-derived drugs by western pharmaceutical companies, without compensation, has led to accusations of biopiracy.
Researchers investigating its medicinal properties discovered that it contained a group of alkaloids that, though extremely toxic, had potential uses in cancer treatment. Two of these alkaloids, vincristine and vinblastine, can be used in purified form to treat common types of leukemia and lymphoma. The discovery of vincristine is credited with raising the survival rate of childhood leukemia from under 10% to over 90%. Thousands of children’s lives have therefore been saved by an extract of this humble garden plant.
Few plants have generated as much recent interest among scientist and medical communities as the Madagascar periwinkle, Catharanthus roseus .
The interest began in the mid-1950’s, when researchers, hearing of a “periwinkle tea” that was drunk in Jamaica, began to study the plant for its reported antidiabetic properties.
Extracts of entire dried plant contain many alkaloids of medicinal use. The principal alkaloid is vinblastine, or vincaleukoblastine (vinblastine sulfate), sold as Velban. The alkaloid has growth inhibition effects in certain human tumors. Vinblastine is used experimentally for treatment of neoplasms, and is recommended for generalized Hodgkin’s disease and resistant choricarcinoma. Another pharmacologically important alkaloid is vincristine sulfate or vincristine, sold as Oncovin. Vincristine is used in treatment of leukemia in children.
Using vinblastine and vincristine in combination chemotherapy has resulted in 80% remission in Hodgkin’s disease, 99% remission in acute lymphocitic leukemia, 80% remission in Wilm’s tumor, 70% remission in gestational choricarcinoma, and 50% remission in Burkitt’s lymphoma.
There are over 70 other alkaloid that have been isolated from the plant in addition to vinblastine and vincristine. Synthetic vincristine, used to treat leukemia, is only 20% as effective as the natural product derived from Catharanthus roseus. Further research is needed especially on bioactive compounds, means of preparation, and effectiveness of plants and herbal remedies.
C. roseus is used in plant pathology as an experimental host for phytoplasmas. This is because it is easy to infect with a large majority of phytoplasmas, and also often has very distinctive symptoms such as phyllody and significantly reduced leaf size.
This plant has poison characteristics.
It can be dangerous if consumed orally or inhaled. All parts of the plant are poisonous. Symptoms: Hallucinations. It can be extremely toxic, and is cited (under its synonym Vinca rosea) in Louisiana State Act 159.
Common name: Rain Tree, Coco tamarind, Acacia preta, French tamarind, Saman, Monkey pod, Arbre á la Pluie, Cow Bean Tree, Giant Thibet, Inga Saman, Algarrobo, Acacia, Akasya, Palo de China, Cow tamarind, False powder puff, French: Gouannegoul, arbre depluie, Fiji: Vaivai Ni Vavalagi,Vaivai Ni Vavalagi, Japanese: America-nemu, Guam: Trongkonmames. Hawaii: Ohai, pu ohai, Tongan: Kasia kula, mohemobe
Hindi: गुलाबी सिरिस Gulabi Siris, Vilaiti siris
Bengali: Biliti siris • Tamil: Amaivagai, Thoongumoonji maram
Synonyms: Samanea saman, Acacia propinquaMimosa saman, Pithecellobium saman, acutifolium Benth, Samanea (Benth.) Merr, Samanea,
Botanical name: Albizia saman, Samanea saman, Pithecellobium saman,
Family: Fabaceae (Touch-me-not family)
Species: A. saman
Albizia saman (sometimes treated under the obsolete name Samanea saman) is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the Neotropics. Its range extends from Central America, Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, through Guatemala to Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil to Peru, Hawaii, Florida, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and the Northern Marianas. but it has been widely introduced to South and Southeast Asia, India to Sri Lanka as well as the Pacific Islands, including Hawaii. Common names include saman, rain tree and monkeypod It is often placed in the genus Samanea.
Large, handsome and spreading, the Rain Tree is easily recognised by its umbrella like canopy of evergreen, feathery foliage and puffs of pink flowers. It is frequently planted in groups or as an avenue because of its ability to keep its symmetrical conformation in spite of prevailing winds.
It is a tree of rapid growth, brought originally from Central America to Sri Lanka and forwarded from there because it was considered to be a tree of great value for railway fuel. It often reaches a height of 27 m. and the strong, spreading branches may be nearly as long. The bark is dark grey, often bearing horizontal weals and the trunk frequently branches quite low down. From March to May and again towards the end of the year the green canopy is dotted all over with pink and white. During the rest of the year, too, there are usually quite a few flowers to be seen. The flowers appear like round, silken tufts, but actually each flower stalk bears one central and a surrounding circlet of florets, up to twenty in number. Each has a tube-shaped calyx and a tiny, yellow-lobed, crimson trumpet; bunches of long stamens, half pink and half white, protrude from each. The leaves fold in rainy weather and in the evening, hence the name “rain tree” and “five o’clock tree” (Pukul Lima) in Malay Hujan-hujan meaning “rain”, but in India it is believed that the name was given because of a curious habit possessed by the tree of intermittently spraying the ground beneath with moisture.
Several lineages of this tree are available, e.g., with reddish pink and creamish golden colored flowers. The long, heavy leaves are twice pinnate and each pinna, of which there are four to eight pairs, bears from three to seven pairs of leaflets. These are oval and have no stalks, becoming larger and more curved towards the end. on its thickened base so that the leaves all lie sideways. Later it was discovered that this was caused by multitudinous minute insects. The fruit is a fleshy pod, sweet to the taste and much relished by squirrels, horses and cattle. Although generally planted as a shade tree and ornamental, it has been naturalized in many countries and is greatly valued in pastures as shade for cattle. Short-boled, with a spreading crown when open grown, it forms a long, relatively straight stem when closely spaced. Its wood is highly valued in some locations for carvings and furniture.
The Monkey Pod tree is called this perhaps because monkeys are fond of the pods and sit in the trees eating them. The tree’s name in Greek. During his 1799–1804 travels in the Americas, Alexander von Humboldt encountered a giant saman tree near Maracay, Venezuela. He measured the circumference of the parasol-shaped crown at 576 ft (about 180.8 m), its diameter was around 190 ft (about 59.6 m), on a trunk at 9 ft (about 2.8 m) in diameter and reaching just 60 ft (nearly 19 m) in height. Humboldt mentioned the tree was reported to have changed little since the Spanish colonization of Venezuela; he estimated it to be as old as the famous Canary Islands dragon tree (Dracaena draco) of Icod de los Vinos on Tenerife. The tree, called Samán del Guère (transcribed Zamang del Guayre by von Humboldt) still stands today, and is a Venezuelan national treasure. Just like the dragon tree on Tenerife, the age of the saman in Venezuela is rather indeterminate. As von Humboldt’s report makes clear, according to local tradition, it would be older than 500 years today, which is rather outstanding by the genus’ standards. It is certain, however, the tree is quite more than 200 years old today
The tree has nyctinastic leaf movements like Choi-Moi or the Tickle Me plant; its leaves close and curl up at night so that any rain that falls hits the ground more easily than it would under a tree with ordinary leaves. The pods and flowers are nitrogen rich and when they fall and decay, the nitrogen goes into the soil. Plants need this to make chlorophyll which gives them their green colour, so perhaps this is why there is lush vegetation under the Rain tree. Farmers like the trees because they are nitrogen fixers and they also grow quickly, the durable, hard wood is sustainable and eco-friendly so can be used for furniture and hand-carved bowls and decorative pieces. In Thailand the tree is host to the lac insect from which we get shellac.
The flowers attract honey bees as well as birds, moths and other insects, and locals enjoy the honey produced from the nectar, but it is only consumed in the locality of the growing trees.
Saponin-like alkaloid pithecolobin has been isolated from the bark and the seed.
· Alkaloids are said to be abundant in the bark, stems, leaves, and seeds.
· Leaves and stems have saponin and tannin; gum from the trunk.
· Pods are rich in starch and sugar, with a fair proportion of albuminoid substances.
· Bark has no tannin. Trunk yields an inferior gum.
It is used as an Antipyretic, antimicrobial, stomachic, astringent, antidermatoses, laxative, antimalarial, sedative.
In the Philippines, a decoction of the inner bark or fresh cambium and leaves is used to treat diarrhea. Acute bacillary dysentery, enteritis, diarrhea: use 15 to 30 gms dried material in decoction. Also for colds, sore throat, headache. A decoction of the inner bark or fresh cambium and leaves is used to treat diarrhea. Anaphylactic dermatitis, eczema, skin pruritus: use decoction of fresh material and apply as external wash. Latex used as gum arabic for gluing. Seeds chewed for sore throat; inner bark decoction and fresh leaves used for colds and diarrhea.
In Pakistan infusion of leaves used as laxative. Decoction of inner bark used for diarrhea, colds, and intestinal ailments. In Jamaica leaf infusion used for treating blood pressure. In Tropical Africa seeds are chewed for treating gum and throat inflammations. In Venezuela rain tree is a traditional remedy for colds, diarrhea, headache, intestinal ailments and stomach ache. Root decoction used in hot baths for stomach cancer. In the West Indies, the leaf infusion is used as a laxative and seeds chewed for sore throat. The alcoholic extract of leaves used for tuberculosis. In Columbia, the fruit decoction is used as a sedative.
Modern medical research has shown that the Monkey Pod tree has antibacterial and anti-fungal activities and can fight Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and E. coli infections. An alcohol extract of the leaves may inhibit Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but more research is needed.
In the West Indies the leaves are chewed to relieve toothache, and a root decoction is used in hot baths in Venezuela for stomach cancer. An infusion of the leaves is given for constipation and in the Philippines a decoction of the inner bark and the fresh leaves is given for diarrhoea. A boiled bark poultice is used to cure constipation too. It is another of Nature’s wonderful health-giving trees.
Edible: Mesocarp of the fruit is sweetish, sometimes eaten by children.
Wood: Rain Tree wood, Kayu, Suwar (or Suar), is a form of Mahogany and is a much higher quality of wood to carve with than cheaper types of wood like Kayu Pule, Kayu Sandat, or Kayu Cempaka. The Scientific name for Suwar/Suar wood is Samanea Saman and it is commonly known in the English as Rain Tree wood. Another common name for the Rain Tree is Monkeypod relating to the fact that it has seed pods which are edible. Popularly used in carving, making tables, wood basins and bowls. Hats are made from the shavings of the wood. Resistance to biodegradation is reported to vary, but the wood is durable under water. The heartwood is rated as resistant to attack by termites. The material is prone to blue-stain. The heartwood is golden-brown to dark brown in color. Wood vessels contain shiny, brown deposits.
Furniture, Cabinetmaking, Turnery, Interior trim, Carvings, Turnery, Veneer, Bedroom suites, Building materials, Chairs, Chests, Concealed parts (Furniture), Core Stock, Decorative veneer, Desks, Dining-room furniture, Dowell pins, Dowells, Drawer sides, Figured veneer, Fine furniture, Floor lamps, Furniture components, Furniture squares or stock, Hatracks, Interior construction, Kitchen cabinets, Living-room suites, Millwork, Moldings, Office furniture, Plain veneer, Radio, stereo, TV cabinets, Rustic furniture, Stools, Tables , Trimming, Utility furniture, Wainscotting, Wardrobes, Woodwork
Fodder: Seasonally copious pods with sweet pulp that can be grounded and converted to fodder and alcohol as an energy source. It is a valuable source of feed for cattle and horses. It is also an important honey plant like most mimosaceous trees.
High sugar content of the pod can be utilized for producing alcohol by fermentation.
Common name: Marigold, African Marigold, Aztec Marigold, Chinchilla Enana, Huacatay, Mexican Marigold, Muster John Henry, Rose d’Inde, Saffron Marigold, Souci Africain, Souci
Hindi: Genda गेंदा ,
Marathi: Jhenduphool झेंडूफूल,
Botanical name: Tagetes erecta
Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Species: T. erecta
Tagetes is a genus of 56 species of annual and perennial, mostly herbaceous plants in the sunflower family (Asteraceae or Compositae).
The name Tagetes is from the name of the Etruscan Tages.
The common name in English, “marigold”, is derived from “Mary’s gold”, a name first applied to a similar plant native to Europe, Calendula officinalis.
The most commonly cultivated varieties of Tagetes are known variously as Mexican marigolds or African marigolds (usually referring to cultivars and hybrids of Tagetes erecta, although this species is not native to Africa), or French marigolds (usually referring to hybrids and cultivars of Tagetes patula, many of which were developed in France, although the species is not native to that country). Signet marigolds are hybrids derived mostly from Tagetes tenuifolia.
Tagetes minuta is the source of commercial “Tagetes oil” used in industry. It is now a naturalized species in Africa, Hawaii, and Australia, and is considered an invasive species (weed) in some regions. Tagetes minuta, native to southern South America, is a tall, upright marigold plant with small flowers used as a culinary herb in Peru, Ecuador, and parts of Chile and Bolivia, where it is called by the Incan term huacatay. The paste is used to make the popular potato dish called ocopa. Having both “green” and “yellow/orange” notes, the taste and odor of fresh T. minuta is like a mixture of sweet basil, tarragon, mint and citrus. It is also used as a medicinal tea in some areas., but some species have become naturalized around the world. One species, T. minuta, is considered a noxious invasive plant in some areas. They can be easily cultivated, are widely adaptable to varying soils and climatic conditions and have a good flowering duration. This bushy plant with around 20 to 30 species, have a long flowering period and the colours range from orange, yellow, gold, cream to apricot.
The species Tagetes lucida, known as pericón, is used to prepare a sweetish, anise-flavored medicinal tea in Mexico. It is also used as a culinary herb in many warm climates, as a substitute for tarragon, and offered in the nursery as “Texas tarragon” or “Mexican mint marigold“.
Depending on the species, marigold foliage has a musky, pungent scent, though some varieties have been bred to be scentless. It is said to deter some common insect pests, as well as nematodes. Tagetes species are hence often used in companion planting for tomato, eggplant, chili pepper, tobacco, and potato. Due to antibacterial thiophenes exuded by the roots, Tagetes should not be planted near any legume crop. Some of the perennial species are deer-, rabbit-, rodent- and javalina or peccary-resistant.
The marigold is very significant in Nepalese culture, where marigold garlands are used almost in every household, especially during the Tihar festival. It is always sold in the markets for daily worships and rituals.
The marigold was regarded as the flower of the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico, parallel to the lily in Europe, and is still widely used in the Day of the Dead celebrations. The marigold is also widely cultivated in India and Thailand, particularly the species T. erecta, T. patula, and T. tenuifolia. Vast quantities of marigolds are used in garlands and decoration for weddings, festivals, and religious events. Marigold cultivation is extensively seen in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh.
Marigolds have long had an important spiritual and religious significance for many different cultures. The Aztecs believed marigolds to have protective properties and could be of aid when foraging rivers or assist with healing after being struck by lightning. In India garlands made of Marigolds are used to honor gods in Hindu ceremonies. In Mexico Marigolds are steeped to make teas for rituals and for medicinal purposes, they are also used ornamentally on Dia de los Muertos to decorate alters created to honor past loved ones.
Marigolds are recorded as a food plant for some Lepidoptera caterpillars including the dot moth, and a nectar source for other butterflies. They are often part of butterfly gardening plantings. In the wild, many species are pollinated by beetle.
The marigold was regarded as the flower of the dead in pre-Hispanic Mexico, parallel to the lily in Europe, and is still widely used in the Day of the Dead celebrations.
In the Ukraine, chornobryvtsi (T. erecta, T. patula, and the signet marigold, T. tenuifolia) are regarded as one of the national symbols, and are often mentioned in songs, poems, and tales.
The vivid orange color of Marigold flowers makes them ideal for use as décor on wedding cakes and other pastries prepared for celebratory occasions. Use as garnish when plating or on serving platters. Float atop a punch bowl of red or white sangria. Their appearance will complement spring, summer and early fall preparations best. The florets of Tagetes erecta are rich in the orange-yellow carotenoid lutein and are used as a food colour (INS-number E161b) in the European Union for foods such as pasta, vegetable oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, baked goods, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, citrus juice and mustard. In the United States, however, the powders and extracts are only approved as colorants in poultry feed.
Tagetes is a plant. The parts that grow above the ground are used to make medicine.
Tagetes is used for digestive tract problems including poor appetite, gas, stomach pain, colic, intestinal worms, and dysentery. It is also used for coughs, colds, mumps, fluid retention, and sore eyes; and causing sweating.
Women use tagetes to start menstruation, treat sore breasts (mastitis), and protect against miscarriage.
People sometimes apply the Leaves directly to the skin for treating sores and ulcers. The Flowers are used as a mosquito repellent. The Juice of the leaves is put on the skin for treating eczema. The Oil is put on the skin for treating wound maggots.
In foods and beverages, tagetes is used as a flavor component.
In manufacturing, the oil is used as a fragrance in perfumes. The dried, ground flowers are used as chicken feed to enhance the characteristic yellow color of chicken skin and egg yolk.
Tagetes contains ingredients that might help decrease swelling (inflammation) and spasms, calm the nerves, and reduce blood pressure.