It is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 80 cm tall, with spirally arranged, deeply lobed leaves 5–20 cm long. The flowers are bright yellow, produced in capitulae (flowerheads) 3.5-5.5 cm in diameter, with a ring of ray florets and a centre of disc florets.
It was formerly treated in the genus Chrysanthemum, but under a 1999 decision of the International Botanical Congress, that genus has been redefined with a different circumscription to include the economically important florist's chrysanthemum (now Chrysanthemum indicum).
In Gaelic, the plant was known as brenanbroi, which translates as "that which rotteth corn".
The corn marigold must have been a serious weed during the 13th century in Scotland; a law of Alexander II states if a farmer allows so much as a single plant to produce seed in amongst his crops, then he will be fined a sheep.
- "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 30 July 2014.
- Dalrymple, Sir David (1776). Annals of Scotland. Pub. J. Murray. London. P. 339.
- Dalrymple, Sir David (1776). Annals of Scotland. Pub. J. Murray. London. P. 338 -339.
- Kleonikos G. Stavridakis , Κλεόνικος Γ. Σταυριδάκης (2006). Wild edible plants of Crete - Η Άγρια βρώσιμη χλωρίδα της Κρήτης. Rethymnon Crete. ISBN 960-631-179-1.
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