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Tagetes minuta - L.

Common Name Muster-John-Henry
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards This species has an irritant sap that can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[238].
Habitats Waste places and cultivated ground in S. Europe[50].
Range S. America. Naturalized in S. Europe[50].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Half Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Tagetes minuta Muster-John-Henry
Tagetes minuta Muster-John-Henry


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tagetes minuta is a ANNUAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 0.6 m (2ft in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is frost tender. It is in leaf from April to November, in flower in October, and the seeds ripen in November. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


T. glandulifera. T. glandulosa.


 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment

The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables[183]. They give an apple-like flavour[238]. An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc[183, 238].


Medicinal Uses

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Anthelmintic  Antispasmodic  Aromatic  Diaphoretic  Digestive  Diuretic  Purgative  Stomachic

The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic[61, 238]. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal worms[238]. Externally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections[238]. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use[238].


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Other Uses

Companion  Dye  Essential  Herbicide  Insecticide  Repellent

This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes[238]. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 - 4 months after sowing[200]. These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed)[200, 238]. An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent[46, 61]. It is also used in perfumery[238]. Dried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent[238]. Dynamic accumulator.

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Scented Plants


Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils[188]. Plants are not very resistant to frosts and need to be grown as half hardy annuals. They also need a long growing season, usually flowering too late in the autumn to set seed in Britain[K]. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season[188]. A very good companion plant, see 'Other Uses' below for more details[238]. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis[188].


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Seed - sow March in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tagetes erectaAfrican Marigold, Aztec marigold, Big Marigold, American MarigoldAnnual1.0 2-11 MLMHNDM333
Tagetes filifoliaIrish LaceAnnual0.4 8-11  LMHNDM102
Tagetes lucidaMexican Tarragon, Sweetscented marigoldPerennial0.8 8-11  LMHNDM433
Tagetes micranthaLicorice marigoldAnnual0.3 7-9  LMHNDM013
Tagetes patulaFrench Marigold, Dwarf French MarigoldAnnual0.5 2-11 MLMHNDM224
Tagetes tenuifoliaLemon Marigold, Striped Mexican Marigold, Signet MarigoldAnnual0.8 2-11 MLMHNDM203

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Botanical References


Links / References

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Readers comment

Juanita Gonzales-Metcalf   Wed Jan 26 09:54:07 2000

What a brilliant facility you provide!! I came across you via the HDRA web page where I'd gone to see if there was anybody that could answer my specific question re: Tagetes Minuta and then discovered I had to join before I could ask! I then accessed your page've provided me with most of the information I needed to know - specifically how does Tagetes Minuta work against ground elder, so thak you very much for that. I have one more query: we intend to plant potatoes on a part of our allotment which is heavily infested with ground elder (hence the interest in T. Minuta)however I understand tha T.M. 'affects the starchy rhizomes of the roots of weeds' so does that mean they will also have a negative affect on the potatoes which, at the end of the day, are nothing more than starchy rhizomes? Can TM distinguish between 'good' starchy rhizomes and 'bad' ones? Thanking you in advance for any help you can offer regards Juanita

Philippa   Mon Jun 26 11:29:18 2000

I live in Queensland, Australia, where Tagetes minuta is a weed of horrid proportions, known as Stinking Roger (you'll see why when you grow some). Fortunately, it is only a weed of cultivation, so two years with the slasher and no plough have pretty much got it under control. I have heard that it can deter nematodes, though I've also heard that it dters them off its own roots and onto the roots of the crop you are actually trying to grow. some people may also experience a form of contact dermatitis from stinking roger. Whatever, be aware of its weed potential. Bye.

nicola bisset   Sun Apr 18 10:24:30 2004

Really glad I have found this site - I am not in a position to donate at the moment but hope when I get a gardening post I will be ableto help you out - what a marvellous resource many mmany thnaks I amseeking seeds of Tagetes minuate can you help?

   Thu Jun 22 2006

i would like to know how tagetes minuta can be used as an insect repellent and specifically which insects

bca   Sat Jan 6 2007

They call it HUACATAY in Peru and make a delicious sauce using it and hot chilis

Richard Leigh Gregory   Thu Jun 21 2007


Mrs Jacky Thorne: Volunteer Co-ordinator   Sat Mar 1 2008

We grew Tagetes minuta in our Cowbridge Physic Garden, in our Dye bed, it was one of the most popular plants with the public. It grew to about 12ft! Jacky

Cowbridge Physic Garden, Vale of Glamorgan, uk Open free to the public

Snog Oogadus   Tue May 13 2008

I grew this plant in coogee, to about 12 foot in my backyard , I cut it down before it seeded It looks remarkably like cannabis .. I love its smell"stinking Rodger " what a great name . Ive ground up the flowers and am boiling it up and intend to spray the bugs on some other plants ... and see how it works . Ive not read anywhere where someone has tried this ..why ? I hope its not poisonous . watch this space . Snog

Sipho Moyo   Tue Jun 17 2008

How is tagetes minuta used as a repellent to insects?

Louis Saaiman   Sun May 31 2009

Please provide me with information about the Tagetes Minuta such as Medical, historical, commercal, insecticide, theraputic, traditional, viral. My daugther is busy on a highschool projecton this plant and urgently need more information. She passed the fisrt level of judgment and must improved on her project. Thanks Louis saaiman, South Africa,

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