Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Muster John Henry - Tagetes minuta   L.
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Tagetes with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionThroughout most of the Coastal Plain, but scarce in the Sandhills and lower Piedmont; disjunct to Polk County. First collected in 1938, most recently in 1967 -- a curiously short period of time for such a widespread plant. "Re-discovered" in September 2020 by Bruce Sorrie in the Sandhills of Moore County--a life plant for him.

Native of South America; in N.A. MA to PA, FL, and AL; Ont.; CA-AZ.
AbundanceUncommon and apparently strongly declining in the Coastal Plain; rare in the upper Piedmont. Few recent collections, though this is possibly due to apathy in counties where historically collected.
HabitatFields, farms, roadsides, shore of millpond, garden weed.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting September-November.
IdentificationMarigolds are aromatic, glabrous herbs with pinnately dissected leaves. Muster John Henry grows 3-6 feet tall and is pungently aromatic. It differs significantly from our others in its very small, narrowly cylindrical heads and very small, white or pale yellow ray florets. In fact, to most people, it simply does not look at all like a marigold (Tagetes); even an experienced botanist would likely be confused by what genus the plant resides in.
Taxonomic Comments
Other Common Name(s)Southern Cone Marigold, Mexican Marigold
State RankSE
Global RankGNR
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieSame data, mid-stem leaves. MoorePhoto_non_natural
B.A. SorrieW of Eagle Springs, Spicewood Road, S of NC 211, Sept 2020. MoorePhoto_non_natural
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