Since ancient times, the flower of Cempasúchil has played an important role in Mexican culture and traditions.
The Cempasúchil flower species is Tagetes erecta.
Origin of Cempasúchil (Mexican Marigold)
The flower of Cempasúchil (Cempazuchitl), or Mexican Marigold, is a species of flowering plant native to Mexico. The species is Tagetes erecta. Its name comes from the Nahuatl “Cempohualxochitl” which means “twenty petals”.
The Cempasúchil name comes from the Nahuatl “Cempohualxochitl” which means “twenty petals”.
Description of Cempasúchil
The plant can reach up to more than 3 feet in height. The buttons of the flower can grow to over 3 inches in diameter. The color of the cempasúchil flower varies from yellow to burnt orange.
The Cempasúchil flower is fragrant, with a distinct aroma.
In México, the Cempasúchil has been used for digestive ailments, to aid in vomiting, indigestion and diarrhea, for centuries. Traditionally, it has also been used for fever, cough, and respiratory problems, and to treat skin problems, such as rash and sores.
On the basis of its characteristics, it is also used in the development of products for agriculture, food, and health. Some countries have developed transgenic plants and have patented methods for obtaining pigments, essential oils and biopesticides. Presently, it is used in the manufacture of pasta for soups, margarine, beverages, pigmentation, natural pesticide, and in food consumption for birds.
The colors of the Cempasúchil flower are most intense in November.
The Cempasúchil plant is native to México. It inhabits warm, semi-warm, dry and temperate climates. It adapts to various habitats, can be cultivated in urban areas, orchards, small plots of land. It is also associated with different types of forests.
The diversity of the Cempasúchil plant is extensive, with 58 species referenced, and 30 varieties. In Mexico, there are an estimated 35 species of the flower. The flower blooms after the rainy season in certain regions of Mexico. The Cempasúchil plant is found in the wild in the states of Guerrero, México, Michoacán, Puebla, and Veracruz.
Production of Cempasúchil in Mexico
The states in México with the best soil and climate conditions to produce the cempasúchil plant are Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacán and the state of México.
Flower production takes place in the Mexican states of México, Puebla, Hidalgo, Guerrero, Michoacán, Tlaxcala, San Luis Potosí, Morelos, Oaxaca, México City and Durango.
Cempasúchil flower production takes place in the Mexican states of México, Puebla, Hidalgo, Guerrero, Michoacán, Tlaxcala, San Luis Potosí, Morelos, Oaxaca, México City and Durango.
Harvesting starts in the month of October. On average, more than 12 thousand tons of flowers are produced in México annually .
Ecology and Conservation
Native varieties, such as cempasúchil clemolito tagetes patula or tagetes erecta, produce fertile seeds that can be stored for future cultivation.
The Cempasúchil flower is one of the most representative elements in the Day of the Dead celebrations in México.
In the Mexican culture, November 1 and 2 are when the most intense color and aroma of the flowers can be appreciated.
Pre-Hispanic cultures assimilated the yellow color of the cempasúchil flower with the sun. Traditionally, the flower was considered a symbol of life and death, such that paths were marked from the main road to the altar with the flowers of cempasúchil. These flowers served to guide the souls to the altars. Presently, the flowers are used in offerings dedicated in honor of the dead. Celebrating the dead is commemorated in México with tomb offerings of food and flower adornments. Typically, cempasúchil flowers are used as adornments for altars and tombs during the celebrations held at the end of October and beginning of November.
In the Mexican culture, November 1 and 2 are when the most intense color and aroma of the flowers can be appreciated, as the Cempasúchil symbolizes the Day of the Dead.
Known by various names, including flor de muerto, flor de cempoal, flor de niño, and veinte flores.
Agri-food and Fisheries Information Service, Government of Mexico