Tagetes patula , the French marigold ,   is a species of flowering plant in the daisy family , native to Mexico and Guatemala  with several naturalised populations in many other countries. It is widely cultivated as an easily grown bedding plant , with thousands of different cultivars in brilliant shades of yellow and orange. Some authorities regard Tagetes patula as a synonym of Tagetes erecta , the Mexican marigold. The flower is an annual , occasionally reaching 0. In some climates it flowers from July to October. In its native habitat of the highlands of central Mexico, blooms are produced from September to killing frost. Achenes ripen and are shed within two weeks of the start of bloom. The heads contain mostly hermaphrodite having both male and female organs florets and are pollinated primarily by beetles in the wild, as well as by tachinid flies and other insects. The leaves of all species of marigold include oil glands. The oils are pungent. It requires growing in sunlight. This plant is valued for its velvet-textured, brightly coloured blooms in shades of yellow, orange and brown in summer. It is shorter, and has a more spreading habit, than its relative the Mexican marigold Tagetes erecta. It is therefore more suitable as an edging plant in the open border. The plant is used in companion planting for many vegetable crops. Its root secretions are believed to kill nematodes in the soil and it is said to repel harmful insects, such as white flies on tomatoes. Hundreds of cultivars have been developed, of which the following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society 's Award of Garden Merit :- . Medicinally, many cultures use infusions from dried leaves or florets. The essential oil is being investigated for antifungal activity, including treatment of candidiasis  and treating fungal infections in plants. The spice imparts a unique, rather earthy flavour to Georgian cuisine , in which it is considered especially compatible with the flavours of cinnamon and cloves. It is also a well-nigh essential ingredient in the spice mixture khmeli suneli , which is to Georgian cookery what garam masala is to the cookery of North India - with which Georgia shares elements of the Mughlai cuisine. Tagetes patula florets are grown and harvested annually to add to poultry feed to help give the yolks a golden color. The florets can also be used to color human foods. The whole plant is harvested when in flower and distilled for its essential oil. The oil is used in perfumery. It is blended with sandalwood oil to produce 'attar genda' perfume. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved Retrieved 7 December Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland. Archived from the original xls on The Plant List. Retrieved 1 December RHS Latin for Gardeners.
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