Tagetes minuta
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Lisa Dyer
Posted on: March 3, 1999

I am an avid reader of your catalogue and have finally found the only information I can lay my hands on for Tagetes minuta in your wonderful catalgue. I am wondering if there is the possibility of more information. I am of the impression that this plant is also known as T. lemoinei or T. lemonii or Mexican marigold or Stinking Roger. With so many names to choose from it is hard to identify the plant I am propping.

The plant I have grows to about 4 feet and has small gold-yellow daisy like flowers and a very strong smell like that of fruit salad or lemony pineapple. It is a very sweet smell. The foliage is fern like. I am really in a quandry here and hope that some knowledgeable person at Richters will be able to help me out. I just want to know what this wonderful plant is and what it’s applications are.

I suppose you are one person who has found out first hand how confusing common names are. All too often two different plants go by the same common name! Tagetes minuta and Tagetes lucida are a case in point. Both of them are called Mexican marigold by some people, but aside from becoming rather tall under lush conditions they don’t have much in common.

Both plants are described and shown in a photograph in the excellent "Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses" by Deni Bown (Richters catalogue #B2730). T. minuta has dissected ferny leaves, while T. lucida has simple, narrow leaves arranged in pairs opposite each other on the stem.

According to Bown, T. minuta gives an applelike aroma to soups, meat dishes and vegetables. It is used medicinally for gastritis, indigestion, and intestinal worms. It is also used to protect crops against nematodes and slugs and to suppress perennial weeds.

Tagetes lucida has an anise scent and is used as a tarragon substitute and as a tea. Medicinally it is used for diarrhea, indigestion, nausea, colic, hiccups, malaria and feverish illnesses.

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