October Birth Flower
October Birth Flower
Each month throughout the year is associated with a unique birth flower and these can often be seen on display in florists windows or websites. This tradition is said to go back as early as Roman times where specific flowers and scents were given as gifts on birthdays and other special seasonal occasions.
The flower chosen as the October Birth Flower is the Calendula. The Calendula or pot marigold is a very versatile flower and draws its name from a Latin form of the word calandae, literally meaning, ‘little calendar’, ‘little-clock’ or ‘little weather-glass’. The origin for this is that the flower blooms annually practically throughout the entire summer months.
Calendula is a genus of plants belong to the family Asteraceae, and there are around 20 species of plants come under the genus Calendula. While some of these are annuals others species are perennial flowers. The genus is native to the region from Macaronesia to Iran, with the whole Mediterranean region in between.
The flower is sometimes called ‘summer bride’ or ‘husbandmans dial’ due to the way its head follows the sun. It came to be associated with the sun as it does well in sunny conditions and was believed to open and close with the sunrise and sunset.
Its other name is ‘Mary’s Gold’ by the early Christians who would place this beautiful, bright flower next to statues of the Virgin Mary. Prior to this the flower had been used to adorn holy statues in India and was considered a sacred flower.
Characteristics of the Calendula Flower
To look at, the Calendula has pale green leaves and has long stems that bloom with lemon, yellow and orange coloured flowers which are said to represent the path of the sun throughout an autumn day or the sunlight of autumn.
Growing to around one or two feet tall, the calendula is a very resilient and versatile flower and grows well in many climates not withstanding the temperatures of extreme hot or cold, making it a popular choice for gardeners. In summer months they attract bees, butterflies and hoverflies.
The flower is also very bright and make a wonderful addition to a house or home or in a bouquet.
October Birth Flower Meaning
The calendula takes part of its meaning from the Victorian language of flowers as being of ‘winning grace’ and ‘my thoughts are with you’. This ties in closely with the October birth flower meaning of being content and having a gratitude love for nature.
The symbolic flower meaning of the calendula flower differs from the above in that it evokes the emotions of sympathy and sorrow.
The calendula flower has a long traditional of being used for medicinal purposes. It contains a high amount of flavonoids, so is a plant-based antioxidant that protects the body against cell-damage from free radicals.
The plant has excellent cleansing abilities and anti-inflammatory properties, making is useful in the treatment of bee stings and fighting infections. As a tincture it can be used to help heal sore throats, treat gums, lesions or gastric ulcers. It was even used as by the Romans to treat scorpion bites Calendula was used by the doctors on the battlefield to treat open wounds in the American Civil War.
Other applications include the treatment of stomach cramps and menstrual pains, reducing fevers, headaches and toothache, soothing sore eyes and helping with skin irritations such as acne, sunburn, rashes and eczema. It has also been said to help with water retention and fighting cellulite and with the special requirements of mature skin. It is often seen in health stores in soap or salves for its healing properties on the skin.
It can also be used is soups or salads and has been used to induce sweating, increase urination or to promote menstruation.
As a topical application on the hair is is said to fight dandruff and even bring out the highlights in brunette and blonde hair.
The yellow dye that can be extracted by boiling from the flower can be used in the making of soft cheese and butter.
The October Birth Flower is remarkable in many ways and has a myriad of properties making this a truly spectacular example of a birth month flower.