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Mexican Tarragon Growing Information Frances Michaels

Botanical Name:Tagetes lucida
Common Names: Mexican Tarragon also known as Sweet Mace, Winter Tarragon, Cloud Plant and Sweet Marigold.
Plant Family: Asteraceae

Plant Description
An easy to grow perennial that is native to Mexico. It prefers a position in full sun and a deep, fertile soil. This herb grows to 70 cm and produces a cluster of erect stems with linear leaves that are 4 cm long and 1 cm wide. The bright golden yellow flowers, 1 cm across, occur in clusters of up to 15 at the top of the plant in summer. The flowers will continue into autumn if the dead flowers are continuously removed. The leaves have a distinct aniseed scent and flavour which is similar to French Tarragon but much stronger. In frost-free areas the plant will continue to grow into winter.

Planting Details
Sow When: Late spring by seed or division.
Planting Depth: 3 - 5 mm.
Spacing: 30 - 45 cm apart.
Position: full sun.
Soil Type: deep and fertile, pH 6.5 - 7

Food: it can be used sparingly as a substitute for French Tarragon in any recipe. It also makes a great herb vinegar for use in salad dressing. Simply fill a 2 litre glass bottle with a large quantity of leaves, cover with wine vinegar and leave for 3 weeks. Strain into glass bottles and add a flowering sprig of Mexican Tarragon for decoration.
Medicine: Mexican Tarragon was used as medicine by the Aztec people. It was dedicated to Tlaloc, the deity of rain and lightning. This god was responsible for the 'water' illnesses of gout, cold, oedema and rheumatism. Little pharmacological research has been done on this plant, but what little has been done suggests it may help relieve headaches and colds.

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