Monday, May 2, 2011

Stinking Roger, Tagetes minuta

Stinking Roger, Tagetes minuta

It is not often I go out of my way to cultivate a weed but this one has many uses. Of all the species of marigolds (Tagetes sp), this one is the least decorative but apparently the most effective companion plant for use in the control of 'root knot' nematodes (eel worms) in vegetable gardens or amongst fruit trees and as a general weed suppressant. It is a fairly common roadside weed here and I didn't have to go far from home to find some small plants. At this time of year masses of small creamy yellow flowers appear at the ends of branches and the whole plant become quite sticky. This fact is a curse for dairy farmers as this exudate can adhere to a cow's udder and readily taint milk. On the north coast of New South Wales, the plant can grow quite tall and reach well over 3 metres . In its native habitat of South America...... Chile, Argentina and Brazil, it is much more respected and widely used as both a medicinal herb and harvested for the production of flavouring oil used in the food and drink industry.
The active insecticide property in the root of the plant is a sulphur compound called Thiophene which inhibits the growth of nematodes in the soil.The leaves have a similar action if scattered around vegetable plants to dispel cabbage white butterflies and other insect pests.
Tagetes is named for the Etruscan prophet Tages who sprang from the earth and revealed the art of water divining to ancient farmers.
2017 update: I do not grow this plant for sale.


  1. Hi Ian: I came across your post because I'm looking to buy some of this for culinary use. Google the term "huacatay," which is what it's called in the Andes: it's the main ingredient for some delicious sauces and stews, and I miss cooking with it! Am guessing the US is too far for you to send plants, though. Too bad. Cheers!

    1. try Richter's herb seeds they ship to USA from Canada .Found under herbal seeds

  2. Thanks for your comments .very interesting

  3. Iam using tagetes minuta for my research dessertation and the result so far are positive. Am using it to control numbers of bruchids in the stored beans.
    Lawrence in uganda

  4. Hi Ian, Peruvians use it for cooking, I can't wait to have one and cook a delicious dish with it. Can I get one from you? i'll send you an email later on.