Calendula arvensis seed
Asteraceae: an annual/biennial10-50cm. Found in fields, vineyards and waste ground. The inflorescence is a single head up to four centimetres wide with bright yellow to yellow-orange ray florets around a centre of yellow disc florets. The fruit is an achene which can take any of three shapes, including ring-shaped, that facilitate different methods of dispersal. The leaves are lance-shaped and borne on petioles from the slender, hairy stem. Native to central and southern Europe, and it is known across the globe as an introduced species.
The young shoots and leaves can be used raw or cooked. The leaves are very rich in vitamins and minerals, they are like Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) in nutritional value. Flower heads can also be pickled.
The leaves are diaphoretic. The flowers are said to have antispasmodic, emmenagogue and stimulant properties. The plant seems to have similar therapeutic properties to pot marigold, C. officinalis.
Sow in situ from spring to early summer and again in September. Thegerminates best in darkness and usually within 1 – 2 weeks at 21°C. An easily grown and very ornamental plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil, though it prefers a good loam and does best in a sunny or at least partially sunny position. The plant flowers best when it is grown in a poor soil. Plants usually self-sow quite freely in the garden.