Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Plants of Remembrance – 5. African marigold

Wreath on the Indian plot of the Field of Remembrance, Westminster Abbey, London, composed of red poppies interspersed with artificial African marigolds (Tagetes erecta).

Despite its name African marigold is native to Mexico, having been introduced to Europe via north Africa in the 1530s.  It is not known when it reached India, and little seems to be known about its use in Indian wreaths and garlands, despite it often being a conspicuous component of such decorations.  The Sun of  3 November 2003 showed a photograph of the Prince of Wales wearing two dozen African marigold garlands, presented to him by villagers while on a visit to India.  Before a helicopter took him to the next village ‘aides phoned a request no garlands’.

Photographed 10 November 2019.

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