Marigolds, a lovely symbol during Día de los Muertos

Marigolds, a lovely symbol during Día de los Muertos
October 24, 2018 Jessica Brey

Flowers and plants are utilized in many cultures to celebrate the fragility of life. In Mexican culture, Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a celebration of the dead that incorporates marigolds in the decoration of family and public altars.

Día de los Muertos is Wednesday, October 31 through Friday, November 2, 2018.

Marigolds come in many forms. The species typically used in Mexico for celebrations is Tagetes erecta, which, although commonly known as the African Marigold, is actually native to Mexico.

View gorgeous swaths of marigolds at QBG this fall. October into November is their prime time!

Below is a list of more beautiful plants you can currently see at QBG that are not necessarily used to celebrate Día de lose Muertos, but are native to Mexico.

MEXICAN MARIGOLD

Tagetes lucida

In our Herb Garden, Tagetes lucida, a perennial marigold is a medicinal and culinary herb.

Location: Herb Garden

MEXICAN BUSH SAGE

Salvia leucantha

Mexican Bush Sage is a favorite in late autumn. Large, up to three feet long bracts of velvety purple spikes will thrive until first frost. The white portions are its flowers. This award-winning perennial is not edible and is solely planted for ornamental purposes.

Location: Fragrance Walk, Annual Garden

PINEAPPLE SAGE

Salvia elegans

This salvia is commonly named for the pineapple-like scent its leaves exude when rubbed. A popular source of nectar for hummingbirds, this salvia will thrive until first frost. It is typically grown for medicinal purposes, such as lowering blood pressure.

Location: Herb Garden, QBG Farm Perennial Border

GENTIAN SAGE

Salvia paten

A delicate perennial that is typically planted as an annual in New York. Native to central Mexico, this gorgeous blue plant is typically in bloom during the summer into early autumn. This sage is not edible and is solely planted for ornamental purposes.

Location: Annual Garden

MEXICAN SUNFLOWER

Tithonia diversifolia

Native to Mexico but found all over the world, this flower has two sides. Used for medicinal purposes in parts of Asia, as a soil revitalizer in Africa, and an ornamental in North America, Tithonia diversifolia is a diverse species that has the habit (with the right conditions) of becoming a noxious weed. In New York City, it is grown as an annual and is not invasive.

Location: Tropical Bed, Floral Border

TROPICAL MILKWEED

Asclepias curassavica

Out of all the milkweeds, this species produces the most nectar. Found in areas of Mexico where migrating Monarchs gather, this tall perennial is an important food source. If you want Monarchs next year, add Asclepias curassavia to your plant list!

Location: QBG Farm Perennial Border

PHOTO CREDITS: Anne Tan-Detchkov, H. David Stein, Jess Brey