Plant of the week - Mexican marigold

Date posted: 04 July 2014

This week’s plant of the week is the Mexican marigold (Tagetes lemmonii), which originates from Arizona through to Mexico. It occurs at an elevation of 1,200 to 2,400m above sea level which is how it received one of its common names, mountain marigold. This plant was named after the Lemmons, a husband and wife team of plant collectors who found it in the late 1800’s.

Mexican marigold is a fabulous plant that has an extended flowering period, from autumn right through to winter. It has beautiful yellow daisy flowers, and is well known for its leaves. They possess an aroma which can be easily smelt when the wind passes over the foliage, or when the leaves are crushed. It smells like an exotic ripe passionfruit!

This species is planted at Adelaide Botanic Garden, there are advanced specimens in the Mediterranean Garden which are in full flower at the moment. They can also be viewed at Mt Lofty Botanic Garden in the upper car park, many plants that were planted last year are now in full flower.

There are a lot of annual type marigolds that are used in horticulture as bedding plants for flower displays, however, the Mexican marigold is a pure perennial that will survive for many years in your garden.

The Botanic Gardens of South Australia Nursery, located in Mount Lofty Botanic Garden, has been able to propagate hundreds of these plants over the years. If you’re after a low maintenance yellow daisy plant with a beautiful aroma it’s hard to go past the Mexican marigold.

Did you know?

• Plant species names ending in ‘ii’ refer to the surname of the person the plant is named after. For example; Barberis dawinii, is named to honour Charles Dawin.
• These plants can be purchased from the Friends of The Botanic Gardens.

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