Texas tarragon (not a real “tarragon” plant) is another name for the Mexican Mint Marigold. Texas tarragon tastes like French tarragon, but can grow more easily in Texas soil to survive the hot summers. In the 1980s and 1990s, Texas chefs started to include the Texas tarragon in recipes.
Tarragon or dragon’s-wort (Artemisia dracunculus L.) is a perennial herb in the family Asteraceae related to wormwood. Corresponding to its species name, a common term for the plant is “dragon herb.” It is native to a wide area of the Northern Hemisphere from easternmost Europe across central and eastern Asia to western North America, and south to northern India and Mexico. The North American populations may however be naturalised from early human introduction.
Mexican Mint Marigold
South Texans have trouble keeping tarragon through the long, hot summer, but instead they are blessed with “Texas Tarragon”. This anise flavored perennial is a wonderful addition to the landscape. Growing to 30 inches, the shapely clump becomes ablaze in fall with golden marigold-like blossoms. When planted next to a purple flowering Salvia leucantha the effect is breathtaking. As if beauty weren’t enough, the plant’s delightful anise flavor can be used in place of tarragon (but it is not an identical substitute, the taste of mexican mint marigold is milder and more anise-like). It makes an excellent addition to teas and punches, wonderful herbal vinegars and the leaves may be added to chicken dishes. Mexican Mint Marigold is easy to grow. It does best in full sun and wants well draining soil. It is fairly drought tolerant. It may be propagated by root divisions, or cuttings root easily in water or potting mix. The plant will die back during cold weather, but springs to life with its stems of elongated leaves when spring temperatures arrive.
The one you have is called sweet marigold and it is the french tarragon substitute. I don’t know if it flowers. The below names are all for this plant. Richter’s of Canada introduced the smaller variety.
Mexican Mint Marigold
Cravo de Defunto
Flor de Santa Maria
Flora de Tierra Dentro
Hierba de las nubes
Hierba de San Juan
Hierba de Santa Maria
Howard Garrett’s Plants for Texas
by Howard Garrett
Austin, TX: University of Texas Press
Mexican mint marigold (also called sweet marigold, anise marigold, or Texas tarragon), is a perennial herb with yellow flowers in late summer.The foliage has a very strong tarragon flavor.
A Cowboy in the Kitchen:
Recipes from Reata and Texas West of the Pecos
by Grady Spears and Robb Walsh
Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press
Creamed Spinach with Texas Tarragon
This rich creamed spinach is all you need to kickstart a slow dinner. Try it with some broiled lamb chops or a big, juicy steak. Texas tarragon, also known as Mexican mint marigold, is an herb that grows wild in some parts of Texas. It has the same sort of licorice aroma as tarragon.
Google Groups: rec.gardens.edible
From: Gary Cooper
Subject: Re: Tarragon and Thyme Problem
Texas tarragon, also called Mexican tarragon or Mexican Mint Marigold, is a heat-tolerant plant (not closely related to true tarragon) that tastes very much like tarragon and I’ve found it to be a good substitute. I’ve about given up on raising real tarragon here in Texas, after numerous failures.
The Herb Garden Cookbook:
The Complete Gardening and Gourmet Guide
by Lucinda Hutson
Houston, TX: Gulf Publishers
(1987, first edition; Austin, TX: Texas Monthly Press)
Mint marigold, Texas tarragon, sweet marigold, cloud plant; yerbanis, hierba anis, coronilla, pericon, hierba de las nubes (Mexico); winter tarragon (England)
glossy lance-shaped leaves, finely serrated; strong anise scent; brilliant golden marigold-like flowers in fall; perennial
loose, well-draining soil; full sun
1 1/2-2 1/2 feet tall
reseeds in late fall; roots in water; or plant seed in flats (germinate in a few days) approximately 6 weeks before planting, and set out in early spring; plant 1 foot or more apart; 1-2 plants per garden suggested