The combination of the brilliant golden-yellow flowers and bluish-green, chrysanthemum-like leaves surely make this one of the loveliest wild flowers for the garden. The Corn Marigold is at its most impressive when in a meadow setting, and as a border plant with other annual cornfield (or perhaps, regrettably, we must now say 'ex-cornfield' flowers).
The Corn marigold flowers from June to September, or even into October. Growing to around 45cm (18in) in height, this annual is unmistakable in flower with its large bright yellow daisy-like compound flower head. The leaves are slightly fleshy, lobed, hairless and covered with a waxy layer that gives them a greenish blue colour.
Like most of the daisy family, it is a good nectar plant and valuable for many insects a worthwhile addition to any annual flower or wildlife garden.
As its name suggests, the corn marigold is closely associated with man's farming activities. It has grown in cornfields from the Iron Age to the present day. Locally common throughout Europe it is now decreasing and is described as a vulnerable species
Today it is very rare to see corn marigolds in an arable field; they is more likely to be found on disturbed ground by roadsides. The seeds remain viable for a long time, and where and when the application of herbicides on farmland stops, 'gold' may light up the landscape once again.
Sowing: Sow in the early spring or in autumn
Corn marigold seeds can be sown directly where they are to flower at any time from late summer to mid April but the best results are usually obtained from an early spring sowing.
It grows readily from seed sown onto preferably, but not necessarily, light, lime free soils.
Sow directly where they are to flower in a well raked bed ensuring that the soil is fine and crumbly. Scatter the seed, rake lightly and firm down well. Keep well watered and weeded in early stages.
Cornfield annuals including the corn marigold can be encouraged to return every year. Simply cut back and remove dead plants after the seed has fallen. Cultivate the ground the following spring. This wildflower thrives in disturbed ground.
Wildlife / Wildflower gardens. Bee & Butterfly garden.
The corn marigold was probably introduced with the introduction of agriculture and has certainly been around since the Iron Age. It was once so common and damaging to crops that its destruction was required. During the 13th century in Scotland as a law of Alexander II states that if a farmer allows so much as a single plant to produce seed in amongst his crops then he will be fined a sheep.
An annual flower of acid arable soils, locally common throughout Europe but decreasing and described as a vulnerable species. It can be found on disturbed sites such as road verges, waste ground and even over-grazed pasture.
The species were formerly treated in the genus Chrysanthemum, but a recent ruling of the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature has resulted in that genus being redefined to cover the species related to the economically important florist's chrysanthemum, thereby excluding the Corn Marigold.
Glebionis is a small genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to Europe and the Mediterranean region.
In the latest edition of Stace's flora, several common plants have been given new scientific names. We now have to call the corn marigold Glebionis segetum and some modern publications including Sell and Murrell list it as Xantophthalmum segetum.
Both names sound very odd when you are used to the old name Chrysanthemum segetum. I guess we will have to get used to it, but you see the plant so rarely nowadays that there is lots of time to forget the new name before you see it again.
The new species name glebio'nis is taken from the Latin gleba meaning 'soil', and ionis which means "characteristic of" (of uncertain application).
The former genus name chrysanthemum is from the Greek khrysanthemon from khrysos meaning gold and anthemon meaning flower.
The species name segetum means “of cornfields”.
The common name marigold is from the late 14C. 'Marygolde', from Mary (probably a reference to the Virgin) and 'golde' (gold) for the colour of the flower
In Gaelic the plant was known as Brenanbroi which translates as 'that which rotteth corn'.
The word corn was locally understood to denote the leading crop of a district. It meant "grain with the seed still in" (e.g. barleycorn) rather than a particular plant. Usually wheat in England, oats in Scotland and Ireland, while 'korn' refers to rye in parts of Germany.
The word was restricted to corn on the cob in America (c.1600, originally Indian corn, but the adjective was dropped), Cornflakes first recorded 1907. Corned beef so called for the "corns" or grains of salt with which it is preserved; from verb corn 'to salt' (1560s).
There are five flowers that are associated with cornfields, there names all attain to their fondness for arable fields:
- Corn Poppy - Papaver rhoeas – Red
- Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus - Blue
- Corn Chamomile - Anthemis arvensis - White
- Corncockle - Agrostemma githago - Mauve
- Corn Marigold - Chrysanthemum seggetum – Yellow.
- Additional Information
Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 600 seeds per gram Family Asteraceae Genus Chrysanthemum Species segetum Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland Synonym Aka Xantophthalmum segetum. Common Name Formerly Chrysanthemum segetum. Golden Cornflower.
Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Other Common Names Guild Weed, Yellow Daisy, Yellow Ox-Eye Other Language Names IR. Buíán Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers Golden yellow flowers Natural Flower Time April to September Height 45cm (18in) Position Full sun or partial shade Soil Naturally grows in light, lime free soils but average garden soil will suffice. Time to Sow Sow any time from late summer to mid April