Muster-John-Henry (Tagetes minuta)

Annual
T. glandulifera. T. glandulosa.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Muster-John-Henry
Tagetes minuta
Compositae

This plant is widely used in companion planting schemes[238]. Secretions from the roots of growing plants have an insecticidal effect on the soil, effective against nematodes and to some extent against keeled slugs. These secretions are produced about 3 – 4 months after sowing[200]. These root secretions also have a herbicidal effect, inhibiting the growth of certain plants growing nearby. It has been found effective against perennial weeds such as Ranunculus ficaria (Celandine), Aegopodium podagraria Ground elder), Glechoma hederacea (Ground ivy), Agropyron repens (Couch grass) and Convolvulus arvensis (Field bindweed)[200, 238].

An essential oil distilled from the leaves and flowering stems, harvested when the plant is forming seeds, is used as an insect repellent[46, 61]. It is also used in perfumery[238].

Dried plants can be hung indoors as an insect repellent[238].

  • Medicinal Use

    The whole plant is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, aromatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, purgative and stomachic[61, 238]. It is used internally in the treatment of gastritis, indigestion and internal worms[238]. Externally, it is used to treat haemorrhoids and skin infections[238]. The plant is harvested when in flower and dried for later use[238].

  • Edible Use

    The dried leaves are used as an aromatic seasoning for soups and vegetables[183]. They give an apple-like flavour[238].

    An essential oil obtained from the distilled plant, harvested when in flower, is used as a flavouring in ice cream, baked goods, soft drinks etc[183, 238].

  • Cautionary Notes

    This species has an irritant sap that can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[238].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow March in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 weeks. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out after the last expected frosts.
Requires a well-drained moderately fertile soil in a sunny position[200]. Grows well in heavy clay soils and in sandy soils[188]. Plants are not very resistant to frosts and need to be grown as half hardy annuals. They also need a long growing season, usually flowering too late in the autumn to set seed in Britain[K]. Removing dead flowers before the seed is formed will extend the flowering season[188]. A very good companion plant, see ‘Other Uses’ below for more details[238]. Plants are prone to slugs, snails and botrytis[188].
S. America. Naturalized in S. Europe[50].

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.