Reddish Vale Country Park
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Caltha palustris, also known as Marsh Marigold, Kingcup and May Blobs.
The deep yellow shiny flowers of the Marsh Marigold appear early in the year on a 50cm long, hollow stem that runs partially along the ground.
The rounded leaves have a heart shaped indentation at the base.
Found in various damp habitats such as marshes and the banks of streams.
Marsh Marigolds are a common native species whose distribution remains realatively stable in Britain. Drainage for agriculture is a threat in some areas to the Marsh Marigold.
Hung upside down in doorways in May it is thought to ward off witches and gives protection against lightning.
Marsh Marigolds have been used to remove warts and was used for the treatment of fits and anaemia.
In parts of the UK in the 19th century, the plant was called Mayblob, possibly derived from Mereblob or more likely from Marybud.
It is a plant commonly mentioned in literature, including Shakespeare:
Winking Marybuds begin,
To open their golden eyes.
Early Anglo-Saxons called the Marigold "Golds" or "Ruddes" and flowers were often boiled to extract their yellow color for food colorings, fabric, and even hair dyes. After extraction, a yellow powder remains. In 1819, Geiger chemically analyzed the Marigold and named this yellow powder "Calendulus". Today the marigold flower is still dried, the petals ground and used as a substitute for the herb saffron.
Marigold petals mixed with chicken feed add intensity to the color of the egg yolks.