Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Datasheet

Tagetes erecta
(Mexican marigold)

Rojas-Sandoval J, 2018. Tagetes erecta (Mexican marigold). Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CABI. DOI:10.1079/ISC.52641.20203483362

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Datasheet

Tagetes erecta (Mexican marigold)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 17 November 2021
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Tagetes erecta
  • Preferred Common Name
  • Mexican marigold
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Plantae
  •     Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •       Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •         Class: Dicotyledonae
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Tagetes erecta is an annual herb that has been commercialized worldwide as an ornamental plant and as a source of natural pigments from its yellow/orange flowers. This species persists after areas where it has been planted are abandoned,...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); habit. Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. March 2007.
TitleFlower
CaptionTagetes erecta (African marigold); habit. Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. March 2007.
Copyright©Dinesh Valke/via flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); habit. Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. March 2007.
FlowerTagetes erecta (African marigold); habit. Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. March 2007.©Dinesh Valke/via flickr - CC BY-SA 2.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit. Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield Virginia, USA. May 2006.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionTagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit. Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield Virginia, USA. May 2006.
Copyright©David J. Stang/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit. Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield Virginia, USA. May 2006.
Flowering habitTagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit. Merrifield Garden Center, Merrifield Virginia, USA. May 2006.©David J. Stang/via wikipedia - CC BY-SA 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.
TitleOrnamentals
CaptionTagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.
OrnamentalsTagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.
TitleOrnamentals
CaptionTagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.
OrnamentalsTagetes erecta (African marigold); Flowers and leaves, sold as ornamentals. Kula Ace Hardware and Nursery, Maui, Hawaii, September 2007.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit, from a cracked road surface. Haleakala Hwy, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
TitleFlowering habit
CaptionTagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit, from a cracked road surface. Haleakala Hwy, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
Copyright©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0
Tagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit, from a cracked road surface. Haleakala Hwy, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.
Flowering habitTagetes erecta (African marigold); flowering habit, from a cracked road surface. Haleakala Hwy, Kahului, Maui, Hawaii, USA. April 2009.©Forest & Kim Starr - CC BY 4.0

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Tagetes erecta L.

Preferred Common Name

  • Mexican marigold

Other Scientific Names

  • Tagetes corymbosa Sweet
  • Tagetes ernstii H.Rob. & Nicolson
  • Tagetes excelsa Soule
  • Tagetes heterocarpha Rydb.
  • Tagetes patula L.
  • Tagetes remotiflora Kunze
  • Tagetes tenuifolia Millsp.

International Common Names

  • English: African marigold; Aztec marigold; big marigold; French marigold; saffron marigold
  • Spanish: cempasuchil; clavel chino; clavel de muerto; clavelón de la India; flor de muerto
  • French: tagete etalee; tagète rose d'Inde
  • Chinese: wan shou ju
  • German: Aufrechte Samtblume

Local Common Names

  • Brazil: cravo de defunto
  • Costa Rica: manzanilla; rudillo
  • Cuba: chamberga; chambergo; clavelón; copete; copetuda
  • Czech Republic: aksamitník vzpřímený
  • Dominican Republic: caléndula; clavel de los muertos; clavel de muerto; copada
  • Ecuador/Galapagos Islands: arrayosa; sintzo
  • Estonia: madal peiulill
  • France: oeillet d'Inde
  • Germany: Aufrechte Sammetblume
  • Greece: katifes
  • Haiti: fleurs souci; souci
  • Hungary: nagy büdöske
  • Jamaica: marigold
  • Lesser Antilles: oeillets; yellow marigold
  • Lithuania: gvazdikinis serentis
  • Mexico: cempasúchil; cempaxochitl; cempoal; cempoalxóchitl; zanziltusus; zempoal
  • Netherlands: Afrikaantjes
  • Panama: amapola; clavellina
  • Puerto Rico: clavelitos de muerto; ruda del pasto

EPPO code

  • TAGER (Tagetes erecta)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Tagetes erecta is an annual herb that has been commercialized worldwide as an ornamental plant and as a source of natural pigments from its yellow/orange flowers. This species persists after areas where it has been planted are abandoned, and it has also successfully escaped from cultivation. It can often be found growing in a wide range of anthropogenic habitats where vegetation is regularly disturbed or maintained at early successional stages, such as roadsides, ruderal sites and pastures. Tagetes erecta produces large numbers of seed, is able grow in many climates and soils types and, once established, it can very quickly form dense populations that outcompete and displace native vegetation and other desired plant species.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Plantae
  •         Phylum: Spermatophyta
  •             Subphylum: Angiospermae
  •                 Class: Dicotyledonae
  •                     Order: Asterales
  •                         Family: Asteraceae
  •                             Genus: Tagetes
  •                                 Species: Tagetes erecta

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Asteraceae, with 1620 genera and more than 23,600 species, is one of the most diverse families of flowering plants (Stevens, 2017).  Tagetes is a genus within this family comprising about 40-60 species distributed across tropical and warm-temperate America, with a centre of diversity in Mexico. The species T. erecta is extremely variable and has been cultivated in Mexico since pre-Hispanic times. More recently, it has been extensively commercialized as a garden ornamental, and many cultivars differing in flower colour and size and plant height have been developed worldwide (Heuzé et al., 2017; USDA-ARS, 2018; PROTA, 2018).

The species Tagetes patula has been considered synonymous to Tagetes erecta in several flora revisions, but this species is also recognized as a separate species, especially when cultivated plants are considered. However, there are no reliable morphological traits to distinguish T. erecta and T. patula, though the former is reportedly diploid and the latter tetraploid. In cultivation, numerous intermediate specimens occur (Davidse et al., 2018; PROTA, 2018). Here T. patula is considered a synonym.

Description

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The following description is adapted from Flora of North America Editorial Committee (2018):

Annuals, 10-120 cm. Leaf blades 30-120(-250) mm overall, principal lobes/leaflets 9-25, lanceolate to linear-lanceolate, 15-25(-45) × 3-8(-12) mm. Capitula solitary; peduncles 30-100(-150) mm; involucres 10-22+ × (3-)5-12 mm; phyllaries 5-8. Ray florets (3-)5-8(-100 in 'double' cultivars); lamina yellow to orange, red-brown (sometimes bi-coloured: yellow/red-brown), or white (some cultivars), flabellate to ovate-quadrate, (2-)12-18(-25) mm. Disk florets (10-)50-120; corollas 7-12 mm. Achenes 6-11 mm; pappus of 0-2 subulate-aristate scales 6-12 mm and 2-4 distinct or connate, linear-oblong, erose scales 2-6+ mm.

Plant Type

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Annual
Broadleaved
Herbaceous
Seed propagated

Distribution

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Tagetes erecta is native to Mexico and Guatemala. It has been intentionally introduced across tropical, subtropical and temperate regions of the world and now it can be found cultivated and naturalized in North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania (Acevedo-Rodríguez and Strong, 2012; Davidse et al., 2018; GRIIS, 2018; PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018; USDA-NRCS, 2018).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 24 Jun 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

ChadPresentIntroduced
Congo, Democratic Republic of thePresentIntroduced
EgyptPresent
EthiopiaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
MadagascarPresentIntroduced
RwandaPresentIntroduced
South AfricaPresentIntroduced
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula

Asia

ArmeniaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
BangladeshPresent
BhutanPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
ChinaPresentIntroducedInvasive
-BeijingPresent
-GuangxiPresent
-YunnanPresentIntroducedInvasive
IndiaPresentIntroducedNaturalizedCultivated
-AssamPresent
-DelhiPresent
-Jammu and KashmirPresent
-PunjabPresent
-Tamil NaduPresent
-Uttar PradeshPresent
-West BengalPresent
IranPresent
IraqPresent
JapanPresent
-HonshuPresent
LaosPresentIntroduced
MyanmarPresentIntroducedCultivated
PhilippinesPresentIntroduced
South KoreaPresentIntroduced
Sri LankaPresentIntroducedNaturalized
TurkeyPresent
YemenPresentIntroduced

Europe

AlbaniaPresentIntroduced
AustriaPresentIntroduced
BelgiumPresentIntroduced
CroatiaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
CzechiaPresentIntroduced
DenmarkPresentIntroduced
EstoniaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
FrancePresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
GermanyPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
GreecePresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
HungaryPresentIntroduced
IrelandPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
ItalyPresentIntroduced
LithuaniaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
PortugalPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
-AzoresPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
-MadeiraPresentIntroducedInvasiveListed as Tagetes patula
RomaniaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
RussiaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
SloveniaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
SpainPresentIntroducedInvasiveListed as Tagetes patula
SwedenPresentIntroducedNaturalized
UkrainePresentIntroduced
United KingdomPresentIntroducedGreat Britain

North America

Antigua and BarbudaPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
BarbadosPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
BelizePresentIntroduced
CanadaPresentIntroduced
-QuebecPresentIntroduced
Cayman IslandsPresentIntroduced
Costa RicaPresentIntroduced
CubaPresentIntroducedInvasive
DominicaPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
El SalvadorPresentIntroduced
GuadeloupePresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
GuatemalaPresentNative
HondurasPresentIntroduced
MartiniquePresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
MexicoPresentNativeDurango, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas Chiapas, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacan, Morelos, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Yucatan Veracruz
MontserratPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
NicaraguaPresentIntroduced
PanamaPresentIntroduced
Saint Kitts and NevisPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
Saint LuciaPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
Saint Vincent and the GrenadinesPresentIntroducedCultivated and escaped
Trinidad and TobagoPresentIntroduced
U.S. Virgin IslandsPresentIntroducedSt John
United StatesPresentIntroduced
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced
-AlaskaPresentIntroduced
-ArizonaPresent
-ArkansasPresent
-CaliforniaPresentIntroduced
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced
-FloridaPresentIntroduced
-HawaiiPresentIntroducedInvasive
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced
-KansasPresentIntroduced
-KentuckyPresentIntroduced
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced
-MarylandPresentIntroduced
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced
-MinnesotaPresent
-MissouriPresentIntroduced
-MontanaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
-New YorkPresentIntroduced
-North CarolinaPresentIntroduced
-OhioPresentIntroduced
-OklahomaPresentIntroduced
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced
-UtahPresentIntroduced
-VermontPresentIntroduced
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced
-WisconsinPresentIntroduced
-WyomingPresentIntroduced

Oceania

AustraliaPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
Christmas IslandPresentIntroduced
Cook IslandsPresentIntroduced
Federated States of MicronesiaPresentIntroduced
-KosraePresentIntroduced
-YapPresentIntroduced
FijiPresentIntroduced
French PolynesiaPresentIntroduced
Marshall IslandsPresentIntroduced
New CaledoniaPresentIntroducedInvasive
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasive
NiuePresentIntroducedInvasive
PalauPresentIntroduced
Papua New GuineaPresent
Solomon IslandsPresentIntroduced

South America

BoliviaPresentIntroduced
BrazilPresentIntroducedNaturalized
-AcrePresentIntroducedNaturalized
-Rio Grande do SulPresent
ColombiaPresentIntroduced
EcuadorPresentIntroduced
-Galapagos IslandsPresentIntroducedListed as potentially invasive
GuyanaPresentIntroduced
ParaguayPresentIntroduced
PeruPresentIntroducedListed as Tagetes patula
SurinamePresentIntroduced
VenezuelaPresentIntroduced

History of Introduction and Spread

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Tagetes erecta has been extensively cultivated as a garden ornamental but also at commercial scale as a source of natural pigment. It has been cultivated in Mexico for centuries and probably spread from here to the rest of Central and South America where it can now be found extensively naturalized (Standley and Steyermark, 1949; Davidse et al., 2018; Heuzé et al., 2017).

In India, T. erecta was apparently introduced from Portugal in the late 16th century and now it is one of the most commonly cultivated flowers in urban and rural India, used for decorations and religious functions (Shukla and Thakur, 2018).

In Austria, it has been reported as cultivated since 1855 (NOBANIS, 2018). In China it was first reported in the 1930s and now it is listed as “widely cultivated” (Xu et al., 2012; Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018). In Africa, it is cultivated on a small scale, mostly in Zambia and South Africa (PROTA, 2018).

Risk of Introduction

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The risk of new introductions of T. erecta is very high. This species is extensively cultivated and has successfully escaped from cultivation. Additionally, this species can be grown in variable environments and its adoption as a commercial crop has been promoted in many developing countries, so it is highly probable that new introductions will occur in the near future (Heuzé et al., 2017; PROTA, 2018).

Habitat

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The natural habitat of Tagetes erecta is the pine-oak forest zone of Mexico in a warm, low-humidity climate. Within and outside its native distribution rage, this species can be found growing in moist or dry thickets, open fields, disturbed sites, roadsides, mountain hills, savannas, pastures and shrublands at low to medium elevations (~2000 m). It is a common weed in cultivated lands and open waste grounds near villages (Davidse et al., 2018; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018; PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedRail / roadsides Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Present, no further details Productive/non-natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural forests Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Present, no further details Natural

Hosts/Species Affected

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Tagetes species, including T. erecta, are sometimes an alternative host for Sclerotinia sclerotiorum, a fungal pathogen that can infect a variety of crops (Rahman et al., 2015; USDA-NRCS, 2018).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeUnknown

Biology and Ecology

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Genetics

The chromosome number reported for T. erecta is 2n = 24. Tetraploid plants (2n = 48) with smaller involucres and wholly or partially red-brown corollas included have been called T. patula by some botanists (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018).

Reproductive Biology

Tagetes erecta is hermaphroditic and its flowers are pollinated by insects (Kumar et al., 2004; PFAF, 2018).

Physiology and Phenology

In North and Central America it flowers all the year round (Davidse et al., 2018; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018). In China, T. erecta flowers from June to October (Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018). In the UK it has been recorded flowering in July (PFAF, 2018). Flowering starts about 3 months after planting and continues for several months (PROTA, 2018). Seed germination takes two weeks (Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

Longevity

Tagetes erecta is an annual, fast-growing herb. In cultivation it can grow up to more than 1 m tall, although in the wild it usually reaches only 25 cm (Davidse et al., 2018; Heuzé et al., 2017; PROTA, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018;).

Environmental Requirements

Tagetes erecta prefers to grow in open and sunny habitats. It grows well in sandy and loamy soils with a pH between 5.6 and 7.8. Although it tolerates heavy clays and dry soils but it prefers moist, well-drained soils. It does not tolerate frost or shaded conditions. Seeds germinate at temperatures between 20 and 30º C (optimal 25º C).  It tolerates low to high rainfall and elevations (Gilman, 1999; PFAF, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018).

Climate

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ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Tolerated Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Tolerated Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year

Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
60 40

Air Temperature

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Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
Mean annual temperature (ºC) 12 28

Rainfall

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ParameterLower limitUpper limitDescription
Mean annual rainfall600>1500mm; lower/upper limits

Rainfall Regime

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Bimodal
Summer
Uniform
Winter

Soil Tolerances

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Soil drainage

  • free

Soil reaction

  • acid
  • alkaline
  • neutral

Soil texture

  • heavy
  • light
  • medium

Notes on Natural Enemies

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Tagetes erecta is susceptible to powdery mildew, leaf spot, spider mites and thrips. Botrytis blight causes the flower heads to turn brown and decay, especially in wet weather; a grey mold develops on the fading flowers. Although T. erecta can reduce the numbers of some nematodes in the soil (especially Pratylenchus penetrans), root-knot nematodes may cause serious damage in cultivation. Red spider mite (Tetranychidae) is often a serious pest in T. erecta cultivars, causing leaves to lose their green colour. Slugs are a major cause of damage too (Gilman, 1999; PROTA, 2018).  Leaf spot disease caused by Septoria fungus has been reported in India (Shukla and Thakur, 2018).

Means of Movement and Dispersal

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Accidental Introduction

Tagetes erecta spreads by seeds. As other Tagetes species, T. erecta produces large amount of seeds that have small “hooks” that aid in dispersal by adhering to animal fur and human clothes. Seeds are also dispersed as contaminants in crop seed and soil and in dumped garden waste (Cortés-Flores et al., 2013; PIER, 2018; PROTA, 2018; USDA-NRCS, 2018).

Intentional introduction

Humans have extensively moved plants and seeds of T erecta.  Currently, it is one of the most popular garden annual flowers in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate regions of the world. This species is also cultivated at large scale to be used as a colourant source in poultry farming and human food (Kumar et al., 2004; Heuzé et al., 2017; PROTA, 2018; USDA-ARS, 2018).

Pathway Causes

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CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Crop productionCultivated for the pigment in its flowers Yes Yes Heuzé et al. (2017)
Cut flower tradeCut flowers sold in markets Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
DisturbanceNaturalized in ruderal sites, roadsides, open ground etc. Yes Davidse et al. (2018)
Escape from confinement or garden escapeSeeds Yes PROTA (2018)
Garden waste disposalSeeds Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
HitchhikerSeeds adhered to animals Yes Yes Cortés-Flores et al. (2013)
HorticultureWidely commercialized as an ornamental Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
Industrial purposesPlanted on a large scale for pigment extraction Yes Yes Heuzé et al. (2017)
Internet salesSeed available online Yes Yes
Medicinal useUsed in traditional medicine Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
Nursery tradeWidely commercialized as an ornamental Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
Ornamental purposesWidely commercialized as an ornamental Yes Yes PROTA (2018)

Pathway Vectors

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VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
Bulk freight or cargoSeeds Yes Yes Cortés-Flores et al. (2013)
Debris and waste associated with human activitiesSeeds, dumped garden waste Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
Soil, sand and gravelSeeds as contaminant Yes Yes PROTA (2018)
LivestockAdhered to animals Yes Yes Cortés-Flores et al. (2013)

Impact Summary

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CategoryImpact
Cultural/amenity Positive
Economic/livelihood Positive and negative
Environment (generally) Positive and negative
Human health Positive

Environmental Impact

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Tagetes erecta is an invasive species that has repeatedly escaped from cultivation and frequently can be found growing as an environmental weed in areas where vegetation is regularly disturbed. This prolific seed producer may aggressively colonize ruderal sites, waste areas, roadsides, pastures and poorly managed agricultural fields. Plants may reach a height of 1 m and have the potential to effectively outcompete many desirable plants for light, moisture, and nutrients (Webb et al., 1988; Wagner et al., 1999; Charles Darwin Foundation, 2008; Xu et al., 2012; Oviedo and Gonzalez-Oliva, 2015; DAISIE, 2018; PIER, 2018).

Tagetes erecta produces allelopathic compounds that are fatal to nematodes and soil microbes and therefore in invaded areas it has the potential to alter the soil microbial community and soil chemistry (Gómez-Rodríguez et al., 2003; Selvam et al., 2015; PROTA, 2018). 

Social Impact

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All plant parts (but mainly the roots and flowers) contain toxic thiophene derivatives and may be poisonous to humans. Dermatitis, skin redness, burning pain, and blisters may appear when broken skin is in contact with cell sap (NCCES, 2018).

Risk and Impact Factors

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Invasiveness
  • Proved invasive outside its native range
  • Abundant in its native range
  • Highly adaptable to different environments
  • Is a habitat generalist
  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
  • Highly mobile locally
  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
  • Fast growing
  • Has high reproductive potential
  • Gregarious
Impact outcomes
  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
  • Modification of nutrient regime
  • Modification of successional patterns
  • Monoculture formation
  • Reduced native biodiversity
  • Threat to/ loss of native species
Impact mechanisms
  • Allelopathic
  • Competition - monopolizing resources
  • Poisoning
  • Rapid growth
Likelihood of entry/control
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
  • Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field

Uses

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Economic Value

Tagetes erecta flowers are rich in carotenoids and are used to make food pigments. Lutein is the primary pigment that produces the orange colour. Since this pigment is not produced synthetically (because the process is lengthy), T. erecta is the main source of lutein for commercial uses. In 2010, lutein occupied a $233 million share of the worldwide carotenoid market (Cantrill, 2004; Demers, 2015; Heuzé et al., 2017; USDA-ARS, 2018). 

The flowers of T. erecta are either dried and ground to create marigold meal or mixed with a solvent to extract the pigment. Marigold meal and marigold extracts are used in poultry feed for colouring the skin, fat and egg yolks, and more rarely in aquaculture to feed fish (i.e., salmon) and crustaceans (Cantrill, 2004; Heuzé et al., 2017; Muñoz-Díaz et al., 2012; PROTA, 2018).

Marigold extracts are used as a yellow to orange colourant in a wide variety of food products including baked goods and baking mixes, beverages and beverage bases, breakfast cereals, chewing gum, dairy product analogues, egg products, fats and oils, frozen dairy desserts and mixes, gravies and sauces, soft and hard candy, infant and toddler foods, milk products, processed fruits and fruit juices and soups (Cantrill, 2004; Heuzé et al., 2017).).

Fresh and dry flowers are also used to dye wool, silk and cellulose fibers. The essential oil extracted from the plant is sometimes used in perfumery. The leaves are occasionally used as a condiment (Heuzé et al., 2017; PROTA, 2018).

Tagetes erecta is also extensively commercialized as a garden ornamental and many cultivars differing in flower colour and size and plant height have been developed worldwide (Heuzé et al., 2017; USDA-ARS, 2018; PROTA, 2018).

Social Benefit

Tagetes erecta is used in traditional medicine. The whole herb is anthelmintic, aromatic, digestive, diuretic, sedative and stomachic. It is used internally in the treatment of indigestion, colic, severe constipation, coughs and dysentery. Externally, it is used to treat sores, ulcers, eczema, sore eyes and rheumatism (PFAF, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018;). Research also showed than essential oils extracted from T. erecta (cited in the paper as T. patula) are an effective insecticide against bed bugs (Politi et al., 2017).

In Mexico, Central America, India and Nepal, the flowers are often used in ceremonies and religious rituals for decoration and for making garlands.  In Mexico and Central America the flowers are used to decorate the altares in the celebration of All Saints Day. In Honduras, water infused with the fragrant essential oil of the flower is used to wash corpses, and the flower is commonly planted in cemeteries. In Nepal and India marigold flowers are used as an offering to the Gods (PFAF, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Shukla and Thakur, 2018).

Environmental Services

Some Tagetes species, including T. erecta, produce nematicidal thiophenes in their roots and so are often intercropped or grown in rotation with diverse commercial crops to reduce diseases and nematode populations (especially Pratylenchus penetrans). It is also planted as an insect repellent and used to keep gophers away from gardens (Davidse et al., 2018; Heuzé et al., 2017; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018; PROTA, 2018; Useful Tropical Plants, 2018;).

Uses List

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Drugs, stimulants, social uses

  • Religious

Environmental

  • Amenity
  • Host of pest

General

  • Botanical garden/zoo
  • Ritual uses

Human food and beverage

  • Food additive

Materials

  • Dyestuffs
  • Essential oils
  • Pesticide

Medicinal, pharmaceutical

  • Traditional/folklore

Ornamental

  • Cut flower
  • garden plant
  • Potted plant
  • Seed trade

References

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Acevedo-Rodríguez, P., Strong, M. T., 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies, Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution.1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Ajit Kumar, Singh, S. K., Sharma, S. K., Raghava, S. P. S., Misra, R. L., 2004. Comparison of seed-derived and micropropagated male-sterile plants of Tagetes erecta L. for F1 hybrid seed production. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology, 79(2), 260-266.

Broome, R., Sabir, K., Carrington, S., 2007. Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database. In: Plants of the Eastern Caribbean. Online database , Barbados: University of the West Indies.http://ecflora.cavehill.uwi.edu/index.html

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Cortés-Flores, J., Andresen, E., Cornejo-Tenorio, G., Ibarra-Manríquez, G., 2013. Fruiting phenology of seed dispersal syndromes in a Mexican Neotropical temperate forest. Forest Ecology and Management, 289, 445-454. doi: 10.1016/j.foreco.2012.10.038

DAISIE, 2018. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe. In: Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe . http://www.europe-aliens.org/

Davidse, G., Sousa-Sánchez, M., Knapp, S., Chiang, F., UUoa Ulloa, C., Pruski, J. F., 2018. Flora Mesoamericana, Volumen 5, Parte 2: Asteraceae, [ed. by Davidse, G., Sousa-Sánchez, M., Knapp, S., Chiang, F., UUoa Ulloa, C., Pruski, J. F.]. St. Louis, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden Press.xix + 608 pp.

Demers KJ, 2015. Screening of herbicides for selective weed control in African marigold (Tagetes erecta). Graduate Dissertation. Ames, Iowa, USA: Iowa State University. http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd/14321

Flora of China Editorial Committee, 2018. Flora of China. In: Flora of China St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=2

Flora of North America Editorial Committee, 2018. Flora of North America North of Mexico. In: Flora of North America North of Mexico St. Louis, Missouri and Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA: Missouri Botanical Garden and Harvard University Herbaria.http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1

Gilman EF, 1999. Tagetes erecta: Marigold. Document FPS 570. Environmental Horticulture Department, UF/IFAS Extension.http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu

Gómez-Rodríguez, O., Zavaleta-Mejía, E., González-Hernández, V. A., Livera-Muñoz, M., Cárdenas-Soriano, E., 2003. Allelopathy and microclimatic modification of intercropping with marigold on tomato early blight disease development. Field Crops Research, 83(1), 27-34. doi: 10.1016/S0378-4290(03)00053-4

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Kress, W. J., Defilipps, R. A., Farr, E., Kyi, D. Y. Y., 2003. A checklist of the trees, shrubs, herbs, and climbers of Myanmar, 590 pp.

MacKee, H. S., 1994. Catalogue des plantes introduites et cultivées en Nouvelle-Calédonie, Paris, France: Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle.unpaginated.

Muñoz-Díaz, J. I., Fuente-Martínez, B., Hernández-Velasco, X., Ávila-González, E., 2012. Skin pigmentation in broiler chickens fed various levels of metabolizable energy and xanthophylls from Tagetes erecta. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 21(4), 788-796. doi: 10.3382/japr.2011-00507

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Oviedo Prieto, R., González-Oliva, L., 2015. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2015. (Lista nacional de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2015). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba, 9(Special Issue No. 2), 1-88. http://repositorio.geotech.cu/jspui/bitstream/1234/1476/4/Lista%20nacional%20de%20plantas%20invasoras%20de%20Cuba-2015.pdf

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Rahman, M. M. E., Hossain, D. M., Dey, T. K., Sarker, S. R., Nonaka, M., Harada, N., 2015. First report of white mould caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on Marigold (Tagetes erecta) in Bangladesh. Journal of Plant Pathology, 97(2), 398. http://sipav.org/main/jpp/index.php/jpp/article/view/3328/1999

Selvam SIK, Devaraj RA, Rani CS, 2015. Allelopathic effect of Tagetes erecta on soil microbes and nematodes of Papaya. Indo American Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 5(10), https://www.ejmanager.com/mnstemps/36/36-1447313995.pdf

Shukla A, Thakur R, 2018. First report of Septoria Leaf Spot on Marigold (Tagetes erecta L.) from Himachal Pradesh, India. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences, 7(1), 1744-1748.

Sîrbu C, Oprea A, Eliás P Jr, Ferus P, 2011. New contribution to the study of alien Flora in Romania. Journal of Plant Development, 18:121-134. http://www.plant-journal.uaic.ro/docs/2011/17.pdf

Sivalingam, P. N., Anupam Varma, 2007. Non-tomato natural hosts of tomato infecting begomoviruses in north-western India. Indian Journal of Virology, 18(1), 20-27.

Smith, A. C., 1991. Flora vitiensis nova. A new flora of Fiji, Vol. 5, Lawaii, Hawaii, USA: Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden.626 pp. doi:https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.44033

Standley, P. C., Steyermark, J. A., 1949. Flora of Guatemala. VI. Fieldiana: Botany, 24(6), 440.

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Webb, C. J., Sykes, W. R., Garnock-Jones, P. J., 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons, Christchurch, New Zealand: Botany Division, DSIR.1365 pp. http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%204.xml

Xu HaiGen, Qiang Sheng, Genovesi, P., Ding Hui, Wu Jun, Meng Ling, Han ZhengMin, Miao JinLai, Hu BaiShi, Guo JiangYing, Sun HongYing, Huang Cheng, Lei JunCheng, Le ZhiFang, Zhang XiaoPing, He ShunPing, Wu Yi, Zheng Zhou, Chen Lian, Jarošík, V., Pyšek, P., 2012. An inventory of invasive alien species in China. NeoBiota, (No.15), 1-26. http://www.pensoft.net/journals/neobiota/article/3575/an-inventory-of-invasive-alien-species-in-china

Distribution References

Aasia Rashid, Azad S A, Umar Farooq, 2014. Community analysis of plant parasitic nematodes associated with ornamental plants in Rajouri district (J&K), India. International Journal of Current Microbiology and Applied Sciences. 3 (1), 194-197. http://www.ijcmas.com/vol-3-1/Aasia%20Rashid,%20et%20al.pdf

Acevedo-Rodríguez P, Strong M T, 2012. Catalogue of the Seed Plants of the West Indies. Washington, DC, USA: Smithsonian Institution. 1192 pp. http://botany.si.edu/Antilles/WestIndies/catalog.htm

Aktaruzzaman M, Afroz T, Kim B S, Shin H D, 2018. First report of gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea on marigold (Tagetes erecta) in Korea. Plant Disease. 102 (8), 1656-1657. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-01-18-0032-PDN

Ali H B, Agarwala B K, Kaddou I K, 2012. New records of aphids of the Subfamily Aphidinae (Homoptera: Aphididae) infested herbaceous plants and shrubs for Iraqi aphid fauna. Advances in Bio Research. 3 (4), 66-75. http://www.soeagra.com/abr/abrdec_2012/12.pdf

Alp Ș, Usta M, Sİpahİoğlu H M, Güller A, 2016. First report of "Candidatus Phytoplasma solani" on a new host marigold (Tagetes erecta L.). Turkish Journal of Agriculture and Forestry. 40 (3), 311-318. http://journals.tubitak.gov.tr/agriculture/issues/tar-16-40-3/tar-40-3-2-1506-58.pdf

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Li Y, Shen J, Pan B H, Guo M X, Wang Q X, Ouyang C B, Yan D D, Cao A C, 2014. First report of leaf spot caused by Alternaria alternata on marigold (Tagetes erecta) in Beijing, China. Plant Disease. 98 (8), 1153-1154. DOI:10.1094/PDIS-09-13-1005-PDN

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Oviedo Prieto R, Herrera Oliver P, Caluff M G, et al, 2012. National list of invasive and potentially invasive plants in the Republic of Cuba - 2011. (Lista nacional de especies de plantas invasoras y potencialmente invasoras en la República de Cuba - 2011). Bissea: Boletín sobre Conservación de Plantas del Jardín Botánico Nacional de Cuba. 6 (Special Issue No. 1), 22-96.

PIER, 2018. Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. In: Pacific Islands Ecosystems at Risk. Honolulu, Hawaii, USA: HEAR, University of Hawaii. http://www.hear.org/pier/index.html

Rahman M M E, Hossain D M, Dey T K, Sarker S R, Nonaka M, Harada N, 2015. First report of white mould caused by Sclerotinia sclerotiorum on Marigold (Tagetes erecta) in Bangladesh. Journal of Plant Pathology. 97 (2), 398. http://sipav.org/main/jpp/index.php/jpp/article/view/3328/1999

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Sivalingam P N, Anupam Varma, 2007. Non-tomato natural hosts of tomato infecting begomoviruses in north-western India. Indian Journal of Virology. 18 (1), 20-27.

Smith A C, 1991. Flora vitiensis nova. A new flora of Fiji, Vol. 5. Lawaii, Hawaii, USA: Pacific Tropical Botanical Garden. 626 pp. DOI:https://doi.org/10.5962/bhl.title.44033

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Wahab A S A, El-Sheikh M A K, Elnagar S, 2015. Marigold thrips Neohydatothrips samayunkur (Kudô), a new thrips species in Egypt associated with the African marigold, Tagetes erecta L. African Entomology. 23 (2), 397-403. DOI:10.4001/003.023.0202

Webb C J, Sykes W R, Garnock-Jones P J, 1988. Flora of New Zealand, Volume IV: Naturalised pteridophytes, gymnosperms, dicotyledons. Christchurch, New Zealand: Botany Division, DSIR. 1365 pp. http://floraseries.landcareresearch.co.nz/pages/Book.aspx?fileName=Flora%204.xml

Xu HaiGen, Qiang Sheng, Genovesi P, Ding Hui, Wu Jun, Meng Ling, Han ZhengMin, Miao JinLai, Hu BaiShi, Guo JiangYing, Sun HongYing, Huang Cheng, Lei JunCheng, Le ZhiFang, Zhang XiaoPing, He ShunPing, Wu Yi, Zheng Zhou, Chen Lian, Jarošík V, Pyšek P, 2012. An inventory of invasive alien species in China. NeoBiota. 1-26. http://www.pensoft.net/journals/neobiota/article/3575/an-inventory-of-invasive-alien-species-in-china

Links to Websites

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WebsiteURLComment
GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.

Contributors

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22/06/2018 Original text by:

Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Department of Botany-Smithsonian NMNH, Washington DC, USA

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