Common names: Mexican mint marigold, Mexican tarragon, Spanish tarragon, Texas tarragon
Botanical names: Tagetes lucida
General information: This compact perennial looks similar to marigolds, but is often listed as a substitute for French tarragon. It is easy and provides great fall colored yellow flowers. The leaves have a fragrance similar to anise or licorice. This native to Mexico and Southwest US is drought and heat tolerant. Blooming in summer to late fall, it is excellent for attracting migrating butterflies.
Size: 1 to 2 feet high and 18 inches wide
Flowers: bright yellow gold five pedaled flowers
Bloom time: summer to late winter; peaking in fall
Leaves: narrow fine toothed dark green leaves contain essential oils similar in fragrance to tarragon
Growing in North Texas
Plant this compact perennial in full sun. This plant tolerates poor soils, but it must be well drained. Mexican Mint marigold needs regular water to establish and then deep watering weekly to keep it at its best. Divide plants by digging the clumps every two to three years. This plant spreads freely.
Note: Mexican Mint Marigold is used in medicinal teas. At the Dallas Arboretum, the information tag explains that the Aztecs administered a powdered form of this plant to some of their sacrificial victims as an anesthetic or hallucinogen.
Texas AgriLife Extension, Harris County Extension; Gardening Fact Sheet; Herbs for Harris County Selections and Uses;
Texas Agricultural Extension Service; L-5313 6-99; Butterfly Gardening in Texas; by Bastiaan M. Drees, Professor and Fire Ant Coordinator and John A. Jackman, Professor and Extension Entomologist
Keywords (tags) drought tolerant, herb, tarragon, butterflies