Tagetes species vary in size from 0.1 to 2.2 m tall. Most species have pinnate green leaves. Blooms naturally occur in golden, orange, yellow, and white colors, often with maroon highlights. Floral heads are typically (1-) to 4–6 cm diameter, generally with both ray florets and disc florets. In horticulture, they tend to be planted as annuals, although the perennial species are gaining popularity. They have fibrous roots.
Depending on the species, Tagetes species grow well in almost any sort of soil. Most horticultural selections grow best in soil with good drainage, even though some cultivars are known to have good tolerance to drought.
The name Tagetes is from the name of the Etruscan Tages, born from the plowing of the earth. It likely refers to the ease with which plants of this genus come out each year either by the seeds produced in the previous year, or by the stems which regrow from the stump already in place.
The common name in English, marigold, is derived from Mary's gold, a name first applied to a similar plant native to Europe, Calendula officinalis.
The most commonly cultivated varieties of Tagetes are known variously as African marigolds (usually referring to cultivars and hybrids of Tagetes erecta), or French marigolds (usually referring to hybrids and cultivars of Tagetes patula, many of which were developed in France). The so-called signet marigolds are hybrids derived mostly from Tagetes tenuifolia.
Cultivation and uses
Depending on the species, marigold foliage has a musky, pungent scent, though some varieties have been bred to be scentless. It is said to deter some common insect pests, as well as nematodes. Tagetes species are hence often used in companion planting for tomato, eggplant, chili pepper, tobacco, and potato. Due to antibacterial thiophenes exuded by the roots, Tagetes should not be planted near any legume crop. Some of the perennial species are deer-, rabbit-, rodent- and javalina or peccary-resistant.
T. minuta (khakibush or huacatay), originally from South America, has been used as a source of essential oil for the perfume and industry known as tagette or "marigold oil", and as a flavourant in the food and tobacco industries. It is commonly cultivated in South Africa, where the species is also a useful pioneer plant in the reclamation of disturbed land.
The florets of Tagetes erecta are rich in the orange-yellow carotenoid lutein and are used as a food colour (INS number E161b) in the European Union for foods such as pasta, vegetable oil, margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressing, baked goods, confectionery, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, citrus juice and mustard. In the United States, however, the powders and extracts are only approved as colorants in poultry feed.
Marigolds are recorded as a food plant for some Lepidoptera caterpillars including the dot moth, and a nectar source for other butterflies. They are often part of butterfly gardening plantings. In the wild, many species are pollinated by beetles.
The species Tagetes lucida, known as pericón, is used to prepare a sweetish, anise-flavored medicinal tea in Mexico. It is also used as a culinary herb in many warm climates, as a substitute for tarragon, and offered in the nursery as "Texas tarragon" or "Mexican mint marigold".
Tagetes minuta, native to southern South America, is a tall, upright marigold plant with small flowers used as a culinary herb in Peru, Ecuador, and parts of Chile and Bolivia, where it is called by the Incan term huacatay. The paste is used to make the popular potato dish called ocopa. Having both "green" and "yellow/orange" notes, the taste and odor of fresh T. minuta is like a mixture of sweet basil, tarragon, mint and citrus. It is also used as a medicinal tea in some areas.
Tagetes - various species
It is always sold in the markets for daily worships and rituals. The marigold is also widely cultivated in India and Thailand, particularly the species T. erecta, T. patula, and T. tenuifolia. Vast quantities of marigolds are used in garlands and decoration for weddings, festivals, and religious events. Marigold cultivation is extensively seen in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Karnataka, and Uttar Pradesh for Deepawali market.  states of India.
In Ukraine, chornobryvtsi (T. erecta, T. patula, and the signet marigold, l. tenuifolia) are regarded as one of the national symbols, and are often mentioned in songs, poems, and tales.
- Accepted species
- Tagetes apetala
- Tagetes arenicola
- Tagetes argentina Cabrera
- Tagetes biflora Cabrera
- Tagetes campanulata Griseb.
- Tagetes daucoides
- Tagetes elliptica Sm.
- Tagetes elongata
- Tagetes epapposa
- Tagetes erecta L. – African marigold, Aztec marigold
- Tagetes filifolia Lag.
- Tagetes foeniculacea
- Tagetes foetidissima DC.
- Tagetes hartwegii Greenm.
- Tagetes iltisiana Rydb.
- Tagetes inclusa
- Tagetes lacera
- Tagetes laxa Cabrera
- Tagetes lemmonii A.Gray – Mt. Lemmon marigold, Mexican marigold
- Tagetes linifolia
- Tagetes lucida Cav. – Mexican mint marigold, Texas tarragon
- Tagetes mandonii
- Tagetes mendocina Phil.
- Tagetes micrantha Cav. – licorice marigold
- Tagetes microglossa
- Tagetes minima
- Tagetes minuta L. – wild marigold
- Tagetes moorei
- Tagetes mulleri S.F.Blake
- Tagetes multiflora Kunth
- Tagetes nelsonii Greenm.
- Tagetes oaxacana
- Tagetes osteni
- Tagetes palmeri
- Tagetes parryi A.Gray
- Tagetes patula L. – French marigold
- Tagetes perezii Cabrera
- Tagetes praetermissa
- Tagetes pringlei S.Watson
- Tagetes pusilla
- Tagetes riojana M.Ferraro
- Tagetes rupestris Cabrera
- Tagetes stenophylla B.L.Rob.
- Tagetes subulata Cerv.
- Tagetes subvillosa
- Tagetes tenuifolia Cav. – signet marigold
- Tagetes terniflora Kunth
- Tagetes triradiata
- Tagetes verticillata Lag. & Rodr.
- Tagetes zypaquirensis Humb. & Bonpl.
a red marigold
Orgyia antiqua caterpillar on Tagetes
'Maxima Yellow' (Philippines)
Marigold varieties prepared as offerings to a god during the Hindu festival of Maha Shivaratri
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- The Plant List, search for Tagetes
- "Plants Profile for Tagetes lemmonii (Lemmon's marigold)". plants.usda.gov.
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