Tagetes erecta (Marigolds)

Marigolds, Salvia, and Brugmansia in the corner bed at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi on 10-12-11, #82-8.

Tagetes erecta

TAG-e-teez  ee-RECK-tuh


Tagetes patula

TAG-e-teez PAT-yoo-luh

Synonyms of Tagetes erecta (10) (Updated on 12-2-22 from Plants of the World Online): Tagetes corymbosa Sweet, Tagetes elongata Willd., Tagetes erecta f. pleniflora Moldenke, Tagetes heterocarpha Rydb., Tagetes major Gaertn., Tagetes patula L., Tagetes patula aurantiaca T.Moore, Tagetes patula nanissima T.Moore, Tagetes remotiflora Kunze, Tagetes tenuifolia Kunth

Tagetes erecta L. is the accepted scientific name for this species of Marigold. The genus and species were named and described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

As of 12-2-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 49 species in the Tagetes genus. It is a member of the plant family Asteraceae with 1,689 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made n POWO. The number of genera in the family fluctuates quite often.


Marigolds, in my opinion, are one of the most versatile plants in gardens and flower beds. There are so many shapes, sizes, and colors. They are much more than just a smelly plant!

Marigolds on the east side of the garden in the backyard of the mansion in Leland, Mississippi on 10-24-11, #83-15. I believe these are Marigold ‘French Dwarf Double’.

Tagetes species are native to North and South America but many species have naturalized in other parts of the world.

Previously, French types were considered Tagetes patula but that species is now a synonym of Tagetes erecta. Many scientific names have changed over the past several years, and some of the changes have been surprising. Previously, the taller Marigolds were Tagetes erecta while the shorter, bushier types were Tagetes patula… I am not a botanist, so I just go with the flow…

Marigold flowers that came out different on 11-12-11, #84-26.

Most Tagetes species grow well in any type of soil as long as it is well-drained.

The name Tagetes comes from the name Etruscan Tages meaning “born from the plowing of the earth”.

The name “marigold” is from “Mary’s Gold” which was a name originally given to a native European plant, Calendula officinalis.

Bumblebee on a flower of a Marigold ‘Crackerjack’ on 9-17-09, #35-28.

African Marigold is the name generally given to cultivars and hybrids of Tagetes erecta. Strange because this species is a Mexican native, not African.

French marigolds are usually cultivars and hybrids of Tagetes patula, many of which were developed in France, but the species is not native to France.

Signet Marigolds are hybrids made mostly from Tagetes tenuifolia.

Marigold ‘Brocade Mix’ on 11-1-12, #127-1.

Tagetes minuta, originally from South America, is the source of Tagetes oil called tagette or Marigold Oil and is used in perfume. It is also used as a flavor additive in the food and tobacco industry. Ummm…. I mentioned before it was considered a noxious and invasive weed in some parts of the world. This species is also used in South Africa for land reclamation. GEEZ! I have a comment but I will keep it to myself. It is used in many parts of South America as a culinary herb and the Incas called it huacatay. A paste from it is used in a potato dish called ocopa. It is also used as a medicinal tea…

Yes, Marigolds have a strange smell to some, but some varieties are bred to be scentless… I cannot imagine a Marigold without a smell!

Marigold ‘Honeycomb’ on 6-8-12, #97-5.

Marigolds are great companion plants because they deter some insects. They are great to plant with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, tobacco, and potatoes for this reason. Some species are said to aid in the removal of nematodes. They are not good to plant with legumes, though, because their roots produce antibacterial thiophenes.

The flowers of Tagetes erecta are rich in orange-yellow carotenoid lutein and are used in food coloring. It is used in Europe as coloring in pasta, vegetable oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, baked goods, dairy products, ice cream and yogurt, juices, and mustard. The powders and extracts of Tagetes erecta are only approved as a colorant in poultry feed in the United States.

Marigold ‘Petite Mix’ came out mostly yellow. Photo taken on 11-1-12, #127-11.

Tagetes lucida, pericón, is used to make a tea in Mexico with a sweet, anise flavor. It is also used as a tarragon substitute.

I could go on and on about how various species of Marigolds are used in religious rituals and wedding ceremonies in other parts of the world.

What is important is that you know how beneficial the Marigold really is. Not only as a plant that adds vibrant color to your flower beds but also in companion planting. It is also good to know their place in history and in society.

Marigold ‘Sparky’ on 11-12-11, # 84-25.

Since I moved back to the family farm in west-central Missouri in 2013, I have mainly been focusing on the Marigold ‘Brocade’. In the right conditions, plants can get fairly large and produce hundreds of flowers. I like the reddest flowers, so I selected seeds from them. I found it really doesn’t matter because after years some of the flowers are still orange…

Marigold seed is easy to plant either right in the flower bed, in packs, pots, etc. You can thin them out or transplant the seedlings and put them where you want them. Just make sure you space them out appropriately according to their mature size. Instructions on the packet should give you directions for the variety.

I have separate pages for Marigold ‘Brocade’, ‘Crackerjack’, ‘French Dwarf Double’, ‘Petite Mix’, and ‘Sparky’.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant. If you notice I made an error, please let me know. Of course, you can always send me an email at thebelmontrooster@yahoo.com.

WIKIPEDIA (GENUS/T. erecta/T. patula)


Please leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.