Tagetes lucida is a marigold. Tagetes.
“Lucida” means shining, clear, bright. It’s flowers are a nice yellow, but not much to look at, really, and it blooms late in the growing season here, so the frost almost always kills it. A scruffy thing. It’s also called Mexican Marigold Mint–though it’s not a mint–and Mexican-, Texas-, or false tarragon. It doesn’t taste like tarragon, either. In fact, the fresh leaves taste…green.

But when they are dry, those leaves smell like hay in the sun, and like vanilla, and rain-on-the-way. I have a bag of the leaves I was going to use for something or other ten years ago. Old and halfway to being nothing but dust, but a sniff makes me feel happy, relaxed, and energized.

Hard to beat that.

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