Leaf retention: Evergreen in regions without freezes.
Growth rate: Rapid.
Mature Size: 3' high and 1.5' wide.
Flowers: Five bright yellow rays, with a yellow to orange center, lacking fragrance,
Bloom: Late summer and fall with regular water and full sun. Removing spent flowers
lengthens its bloom time.
Leaves: Green, long and narrow, having a licorice aroma, edible, with a
Stems: Green, no thorns.
Roots: After four months of growth, secretions from the roots may have insecticidal
properties in the soil against nematodes and may also hinder the growth of some species of
Wildlife: Attracts bees, butterflies, and pollinating insects. Not browsed by mammals.
Known to repel some insect pests.
Toxic / Danger: No.
Origin: Mexico to Central America.
Cultivation and Uses
USDA hardiness zones: 8-11. It dies to the ground and regrows from its roots in
spring in regions with freezing temperatures.
Heat tolerant: Yes.
Drought tolerant: Yes.
Sun: Full sun to light shade.
Water after becoming established: Monthly to weekly depending on temperature and
appearance. This plant can survive on low water but needs regular water to bloom.
Soil: Well drained, moderate organic content, tolerant of soil types, pH 6.1-7.8
(slightly acidic to slightly alkaline).
Mulch: Surround the plant with organic mulch, such as straw, when it is first placed
in the ground. Also mulch thickly just before freezing temperatures are predicted.
First Year Care: Place seedlings outside after the last expected frost. By fall it
should be root hardy enough to over-winter.
Planting: It can be grown in a container.
Prune: In mid-summer, trim to shape and reduce size if desired. Removing spent flowers
quickly extends the blooming season.
Litter: Low except that it dies to the ground in freezes.
Propagation: Seed, root division.
Uses: Ornamental, culinary. The strong-flavored leaves are used raw in salads, as a
tarragon substitute in cooking, and was used by the Aztecs to flavor a chocolate drink.
An anise-flavored tea, made from the leaves and flowering tops, is very popular in Latin
America. The flowers can be used fresh to color salads. The whole dried plant can be dried,
ground to powder, and burnt as incense to repel insects.
This plant is a member of the Aster family (Asteraceae). It has many common names, including
Mexican Marigold, Mexican Mint Marigold and Spanish Tarragon.
The fresh flowers and leaves of this plant are known to have psychoactive properties and
were used by the Aztecs in rituals.
Consumption of a tea made from the leaves, or ground plant material, has been said to induce
sleep, cause hallucinations, or be useful as an aphrodisiac, although the effects vary by
individual. The psychoactive compounds generally dissipate and lose effectiveness within 24
hours after harvest.
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Latest update: October, 2020.