Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Tagetes minuta

Botanical Name: Tagetes minuta
Family: Asteraceae
Order: Asterales
Genus: Tagetes
Species:T. minuta

*Tagetes bonariensis Pers.
*Tagetes glandulifera Schrank
*Tagetes glandulosa Schrank ex Link
*Tagetes porophyllum Vell.
*Tagetes tinctoria Hornsch.

Common Names:Huacatay, Mexican marigold, Mint marigold Muster John Henry, Southern marigold, Khakibos, Stinking roger, Wild marigold, and Black mint.

Habitat: Tagetes minuta is native to the southern half of South America. Since Spanish colonization, it has been introduced around the world, and has become naturalized in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, and Africa. Tagetes minuta has numerous local names that vary by region, most commonly found in the literature as chinchilla, chiquilla, chilca, zuico, suico, or anisillo. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Tagetes minuta is an annual plant,growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is in leaf from April to November, in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.


Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils. Plants are not very resistant to frosts and need to be grown as half hardy annuals. They also need a long growing season, usually flowering too late in the autumn to set seed in Britain. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season. A very good companion plant, see ‘Other Uses’ below for more details. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis.

Edible Uses:
The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables. They give an apple-like flavour. An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc.

Medicinal Uses:
The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal worms. Externally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use.

Other Uses:
This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 – 4 months after sowing. These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed). An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent. It is also used in perfumery. Dried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent.

Known Hazards : This species has an irritant sap that can cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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