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Tagetes lucida Cav.

Family Name: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Synonyms: Tagetes florida
Common Name: Sweetscented Marigold, Sweet-scent Marigold, Sweet-scent Mexican Marigold, Mexican Mint Marigold, Spanish Tarragon, Winter Tarragon, Mexican Tarragon, Texas Tarragon, Sweet Mace
Full Sun: 6-8h Semi-Shade Moderate Water Fruit & Vegetable Herb & Spice Fragrant Woody


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Shrub
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Maximum Height 0.4 m to 1.1 m
Maximum Plant Spread / Crown Width 0.8 m


Native Distribution Central America, Mexico
Preferred Climate Zone Sub-Tropical / Monsoonal

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is a perennial, semi-woody shrub which can grow to about 40 - 70 cm tall, sometimes up to 80 cm tall . 
Foliage Leaves are green, glabrous (hairless) and linear to lanceolate (4 - 9 cm in length, <1 cm wide). Leaves are sessile (leaf blade directly attached to the stem without a petiole). Leaf margin of older leaves is serrulate (finely toothed) near the middle to tip of leaves. 
Flowers Flowers small and orange-yellow (1.5 cm in diameter). Flowers are composite, having both disk flowers on the inside and ray flowers with petal-like structures on the outside. 
Fruits Fruits are classified as cypselae and each contains one seed. The fruits are linear and thin. On one end of the fruit, there is a two-pronged, beige projection known as a pappus that promotes seed dispersal. The fruit including the pappus is about 1 cm long. However, plants grown in Singapore typically do not produce fruits. 
Habitat Occurs in forests and on hilly or rocky slopes. 
Cultivation Plant in well-drained soil and space individuals 0.3 m apart. Usually a hardy plant that is resistant to most pests and disease. However, the plant may become susceptible to mealy bugs, snails, leaf miners, leaf spot, whiteflies, spider mites, leaf spot caused by bacterial pathogens, powdery mildew, damping off and botrytis.  Prune back when the plant gets 'leggy' and allow it to grow back into a bushy form.
Etymology The genus name “Tagetes” is derived from the Roman god Tages who was the son or grandson of Jupiter. The species epithet “lucida” is the Latin word for bright or shining and refers to the bright color of the flowers.
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Flowers)
Food (Herb and Spice : The leaves have a similar, but stronger flavor to French Tarragon. In the lowland tropics (like Singapore), it is easier to grow than French Tarragon. The flavor has also been described as being similar to licorice or anise. Flowers may be consumed raw in salads. The leaves may be added to fish or egg dishes. In Latin America, a popular tea is brewed from its leaves and flowers. ;Fruit & Vegetable)
Medicinal ( Guadarrama-Cruz et al (2008) showed that extracts of aboveground parts had anti-depressant activity in rats, based on their increased effort to survive during a Forced Swimming Test. These extracts also contain coumarins with anti-bacterial or anti-fungal activity (Céspedes et al 2006). Another study also found that extracts have anti-bacterial activity, but attributed that activity to a flavone (Hernández et al 2006). Tea made from fresh leaves is used to cure various types of abdominal pain. )
Agriculture - Forestry ( Extracts inhibit the growth of Colletotrichum gloeosporioides, a fungal pathogen that causes anthracnose (a disease that decreases fruit yield and quality).)
Cultural / Religious ( In Mexico, Indians burn the dried leaves as incense in private and public religious ceremonies. )
[Others]:  Caution: Smoking the leaves results in hallucinations.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping Plant in herb gardens. Use as edging or along the border of flower gardens.
Desirable Plant Features Fragrant (Foliage)
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Well-Drained Soils
Landscape Uses Flowerbed / Border, Container Planting
Thematic Landscaping Golden Garden, Economic Garden

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Maintenance Requirements Moderate
Pest(s) Chewing Insects, Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Division, Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Smooth
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Sessile
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate, Linear)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire, Serrate / Toothed, Serrulate
Foliar Apex - Tip Acute
Foliar Base Truncate / Square
Typical Foliar Area Microphyll ( 2.25cm2 - 20.25 cm2 )

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Herbaceous
Root Type Underground (Tap Root)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Bisexual Flowers
Flower Colour(s) Orange, Yellow / Golden
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Saucer-shaped
Flower Size - Remarks 1.5 cm wide
Inflorescence Type Head / Capitulum
Flowering Period Free-Flowering
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Mature Fruit Colour(s) - Angiosperms and Gymnosperms Black, Brown
Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Cypsela

Image Repository



Master ID 29778
Species ID 4087
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 20 October 2021.