Common name: Southern marigold
You won’t find southern marigold (Tagetes minuta) growing in many gardens. This perennial native to southern South America starts off looking marigold-like. But not for long.
Its stems thicken and grow up to 2 m/6 ft. Small buds develop all over the sturdy stems. Then these buds elongate. That is when you get the feeling that this strange plant might hold some powerful forces. And it does - pre-Columbian rituals, medicinal mixtures, and plant pest destroyer.
Southern marigold loves sunny disturbed sites and has spread rapidly around the world. This plant does only one thing slowly. It opens each tiny (minuta) flower in its cluster one by one in October. Southern marigold may not be the ornamental beauty of its genus but when you watch this video, you’ll be happy it’s around.
The pictures were taken in the Southern Hemisphere Garden in Fall, 2022.
Text and photos by Hughie Jones