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What Do Calendula Seeds Look Like? Solved!

I’ve been growing calendula for years, and while the stunning petals garner much attention, it’s equally intriguing to explore the overlooked aspect of this plant: its seeds. 

What do calendula seeds look like?

Calendula seeds have a distinct, elongated, cylindrical, and curved shape. Many liken them to small, curved worms, while others say they resemble small crescent moons.

These tiny seeds typically measure 2-4 millimeters in length and 1-2 millimeters in width. As they mature, they adopt a range of brown hues, from light tans to darker shades of brown.

In this article, I’ll take a look at:

  • The characteristics of calendula seeds (their shape, size, color, texture)
  • Why do calendula seeds look this way
  • What the benefits are of knowing how they look (there are many!)
hand holding calendula seeds
Beautiful calendula seeds

Characteristics of Calendula Seeds

ShapeElongated, cylindrical, and curved
Size2 – 4 mm
ColorPale green, tan, and brown
TextureSlightly rough
ResemblanceCurved, small worms; small crescent moons 
UsesGardening, culinary ingredients, traditional herbal medicine, herbal infusions, and ornamental use
Germination Time5 – 14 days
Planting SeasonSpring and autumn
Flower SeasonSpring, autumn, and winter
LifespanAnnual (life cycle completes within one year)
Common NamePot marigold
Scientific NameCalendula officinalis
Country of OriginMediterranean region of Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece, and parts of North Africa)
Geographical DistributionGlobal


Calendula seeds are elongated in nature. They also have a tubular form, resembling a small cylinder. 

The seeds’ shape looks similar to the shape of a pencil or straw, and the diameter is consistent throughout the seeds’ length.

Another way to describe the seeds’ form is that they’re curved. The seeds have a gentle curve or bend along the seeds’ length, resembling a crescent shape.


The size of calendula seeds can vary depending on the specific variety and other conditions. But they’re typically small, measuring between 2 to 4 millimeters in length and 1 to 2 millimeters in width.

The seed’s size can affect seed viability. Bigger seeds tend to have a higher germination rate than smaller ones. 


The seeds exhibit various shades within the brown color spectrum. Some mature calendula seeds tend to have a tan color, while other mature ones are darker or brown.

The specific shade of brown among different calendula seeds varies and is influenced by factors such as genetics, maturity, and environmental conditions during seed development. 

It’s common to see calendula seeds with a pale green hue, especially during their less mature stages. 


The texture of calendula seeds is slightly rough. When you touch the seeds, you feel subtle spikes or irregularities.

This roughness can vary among individual seeds and is influenced by the variety of calendula, seed maturity, and environmental factors.


The curved nature of calendula seeds gives them a somewhat worm-like appearance to some observers. In contrast, others describe calendula seeds as small crescent moons.

Less mature calendula seeds may exhibit a pale green color reminiscent of tender leaves in early spring.

A large pile of calendula seeds seen from close up
A whole pile of curved, crescent-moon calendula seeds

Why Do Calendula Seeds Look the Way They Do?

The appearance of calendula seeds is influenced by their evolutionary adaptation and reproductive strategies.

Seed Dispersal

The slightly rough, elongated, curved shape and small size of calendula seeds can aid their dispersal

These physical characteristics allow the seeds to get entangled in the fur or feathers of animals. This facilitates seed transport to new locations and the chances of successful germination.

Birds, insects, and other small animals can also mistake calendula seeds for food because of the seeds’ properties. These animals can carry the seeds to new locations and help to spread the plant’s range.

Protection and Survival

The calendula seeds’ pale green or brown color can provide camouflage, allowing them to blend into their surroundings to prevent predation.

Calendula seeds are covered by a protective outer layer called the seed coat. This outer layer helps protect the seed from harsh environmental conditions such as moisture, microbes, and extreme temperatures. 

What Are the Benefits of Knowing How Calendula Seeds Look?

Understanding how calendula seeds look and their specific characteristics can be beneficial for several reasons, including:

Seed Purchase

Knowing the physical features of calendula seeds can help you identify them accurately. This is useful when purchasing or collecting seeds for gardening and other purposes.

Proper identification helps prevent conflation with other seeds, ensuring you buy or gather the correct ones.


Being able to recognize the physical characteristics of calendula seeds can assist you in gardening. 

If you can distinguish calendula seeds from other seeds or weeds in your garden, you can adequately care for the correct plant.

Additionally, being able to identify mature calendula seeds helps you determine the best time for seed harvest.


Calendula seeds play an important role in preserving plant biodiversity. Knowledge of their physical appearance or properties can help in seed conservation efforts such as community seed exchanges. 

It facilitates accurate cataloging and sharing of seed resources. This helps to safeguard the genetic diversity of calendula species for future generations.


If you want to use calendula seeds for culinary purposes, knowing how calendula seeds look helps. It enables you to recognize ripe calendula seeds for garnishing salads or baking.

Medicinal Use

Calendula seeds have several medicinal properties. Having the ability to identify calendula seeds ensures you’re using the correct seeds for preparations such as infusions, oils, and salves.

Curiosity and Appreciation

Exploring the appearance of calendula seeds can simply satisfy curiosity. It can encourage a deeper appreciation for the intricacies of nature.

You can observe the physical details of calendula seeds and appreciate the intelligence behind them. This can ignite joy and inspiration.


So, in a nutshell…

Calendula seeds are elongated, cylindrical, and curved in shape. They’re small, typically measuring 2 to 4 millimeters in length and 1 to 2 millimeters in width.

The seeds exhibit shades of brown when mature, ranging from tan to darker brown. Their texture is slightly rough, resembling tiny, curved worms or small crescent moons.

The appearance of calendula seeds results from their evolutionary adaptation and reproductive strategies. 

Knowing how calendula seeds look helps you engage in successful gardening, biodiversity preservation, culinary use, and medicinal application. Lastly, it can also ignite your curiosity and appreciation for nature’s intricacies.


  • Kaylee Vaughn

    Kaylee is the Founder of She has set up and run two homesteads, a one-acre in Idaho, and her current two-acre dream homestead in the Pacific North West. Her qualifications include a Permaculture Design Certification from Oregon State University, and she is a Gardenary Certified Garden Coach. Kaylee currently produces at least 80% of her own food. She contributes to our site through articles, training and coaching to our clients. You can read more about her at


Sunday 26th of November 2023

oops .. don't know how to load the pic so will email rootedrevival ..


Sunday 26th of November 2023

hi, kaylee .. i'm sending a photo of calendula i've just separated into two piles .. can you tell ,e are they all calendula seeds, or are the smaller the seeds snd the larger chaffe? .. thank you .. jane