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Tagetes minuta


Called wakatay or huacatay in Quechua, this annual herb native to southern South America is treated both as a culinary and medical plant by the indigenous peoples of Peru, Ecuador, and other areas of the High Andes.  A botanical relative of the marigold, it produces small, insignificant yellow-white flowers born on tall, erect plants often reaching 6 to 10 feet in height (depending on the fertility of the soil).  The glossy, dark green, fern-like leaves are the part used in cookery and are extremely pungent when crushed.  They are also dried for use during the winter.  A pesto made from the leaves is sold commercially in South America under the name “black mint paste” which is popularly used with potatoes.  Herbals teas from both the leaves and flowers are used for chest colds and stomach ailments.


Seeds should be started indoors and then transplanted to the garden after all threat of frost is past.  The plants are slow to grow during the early summer but will mature rapidly at the onset of shorter day-length in September.  Once established they will reseed from year to year because small birds are fond of the seeds and will carry them into all parts of the garden.  The plants are also cold tolerant and are only killed by hard frosts. For seed purposes, allow 150 days to maturity.


~Minimum 50-60 seeds per packet.

Huacatay (South American Herb and Medicinal)

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