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Tagetes erecta

Tagetes erecta
Starr 070906-8658 Tagetes erecta.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Tagetes
Species: T. erecta
Binomial name
Tagetes erecta
Bud of Tagetes erecta in India

Tagetes erecta, the Mexican marigold or Aztec marigold,[2] is a species of the genus Tagetes native to Mexico. Despite its being native to the Americas, it is often called African marigold.[3][4] In Mexico, this plant is found in the wild in the states of México, Puebla, and Veracruz.

This plant reaches heights of between 50 and 100 cm (20 and 39 in). The Aztecs gathered the wild plant as well as cultivating it for medicinal, ceremonial and decorative purposes. It is widely cultivated commercially with many cultivars in use as ornamental plants,[5] and for the cut-flower trade.[6][7]



Its flower, the cempasúchil is also called the flor de muertos ("flower of the dead") in Mexico and is used in the Día de Muertos celebration every 2 November. The word cempazúchitl (also spelled cempasúchil) comes from the Nahuatl term for the flower cempohualxochitl, literally translated as "twenty flower". In Thai language it is called ดาวเรือง [DaoRuang], literally translated as "star glittering".[citation needed] Water infused with the fragrant essential oil of the flower was used to wash corpses in Honduras, and the flower is still commonly planted in cemeteries.[8]

Traditional medicine

Since prehispanic times, this plant has been used for medicinal purposes.[citation needed] The Cherokee used it as a skin wash and for yellow dye.[9] This marigold may help protect certain crop plants from nematode pests when planted in fields.[10] It is most effective against the nematode species Pratylenchus penetrans.[8]


The ray florets have been used in lettuce salads and other foods to add colour and flavour. The flowers are rich in carotenoids, and are thus used to make food and feed pigments.[11] The dried flower petals, ground to a powder, are used in poultry feed to ensure a good colouration of egg yolks and broiler skin, especially in the absence of well-pigmented yellow maize in the feed.[12] This is still a use today, but now usually in the form of an extract which may have advantages of lower transport and storage cost, better stability and better utilization. It is also used to enhance coloring in crustaceans,[8] such as the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei).[13]

Other uses

The oil of the flower may be added to perfumes to infuse an apple scent into them.[8]

Today, T. erecta is grown to extract lutein, a common yellow/orange food colour (E161b).[8][14] Tagetes meal and extract is used as a colorant in chicken feed.[citation needed] The essential oil of the flower contains antioxidants.[15]


  1. ^ The Plant List, Tagetes erecta L.
  2. ^ "Tagetes erecta". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 7 December 2015. 
  3. ^ Floridata
  4. ^ "Tagetes erecta". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 16 December 2017. 
  5. ^ NC State Horticulture
  6. ^ Flora of China, Tagetes erecta Linnaeus, 1753. 万寿菊 wan shou ju
  7. ^ Altervista Flora Italiana, Tagete eretta, Tagetes erecta L.
  8. ^ a b c d e Protabase: Tagetes erecta
  9. ^ Ethnobotany
  10. ^ Olabiyi, T. I. & E. E. A. Oyedunmade (2007). "Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) as interplant with cowpea for the control of nematode pests" (PDF). African Crop Science Conference Proceedings. 8: 1075–1078. 
  11. ^ Heuzé V., Tran G., Hassoun P., Lebas F., 2017. Mexican marigold (Tagetes erecta). Feedipedia, a programme by INRA, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO. [] Last updated on August 24, 2017, 15:11
  12. ^ W. Leigh Hadden; Ruth H. Watkins; Luis W. Levy; Edmundo Regalado; Diana M. Rivadeneira; Richard B. van Breemen & Steven J. Schwartz (1999). "Carotenoid composition of marigold (Tagetes erecta) flower extract used as nutritional supplement". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 47 (10): 4189–4194. doi:10.1021/jf990096k. PMID 10552789. 
  13. ^ J. T. Ponce-Palafox; J. L. Arredondo Figueroa & E. J. Vernon Carter (2006). "Carotenoids from plants used in diets for the culture of the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei)" (PDF). Revista Mexicana de Ingeniería Química. 5 (2): 157–165. 
  14. ^ Lutein from Tagetes erecta
  15. ^ Rosa Martha Pérez Gutiérrez; Heliodoro Hernández Luna & Sergio Hernández Garrido (2006). "Antioxidant activity of Tagetes erecta essential oil". Journal of the Chilean Chemical Society. 51 (2): 883–886. doi:10.4067/S0717-97072006000200010. 

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