Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Dyssodia papposa, Fetid Marigold

Fetid Marigold has bracts surrounding the floral heads that contain oil glands which are either orangish or clear. Shown here is an orangish colored oil gland. Dyssodia papposa Fetid Marigold has yellow or orange flower heads that contain both ray and disk florets although it is often difficult to visually observe. The fruit of Fetid Marigold is called a cypsela. Dyssodia papposa Fetid Marigold has thin green leaves and generally the upper leaves are arranged alternately along the stem. Note that the leaves are pinnately divided into linear segments. The leaves also the clear or orangish colored oil glands. Dyssodia papposa Fetid Marigold may grow up to 2 feet (61 cm) tall. This species blooms from August or May to October. Elevation ranges from 3,000 to 6,500 feet (914-1,981 m). Dyssodia papposa

Scientific Name: Dyssodia papposa
Common Name: Fetid Marigold

Also Called: Dogweed, Dogbane Dyssodia, Fetid Dogweed, Fetid-marigold, Prairie Dogweed

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Boebera ciliosa, Boebera papposa, Dyssodia fastigiata, Tagetes papposa)

Status: Native

Duration: Annual

Size: 1 to 2 feet (30-61 cm).

Growth Form: Forb/herb, plants with strong unpleasant odor; erect or spreading outward and upward (decumbent, multiple branches; plants smooth (glabrous) or minutely soft hairy.

Leaves: Green, generally upper leaves arranged alternate along stem; leaves pinnately divided into linear segments; leaves with visible clear or orangish colored oil glands.

Flower Color: Yellow or orange, flower heads many, both ray and disk florets although difficult to observe; bracts surrounding flora heads contain visible oil glands; fruit a cypsela pappus with short bristles.

Flowering Season: August to October; May to October in California

Elevation: 3,000 to 6,500 feet (914-1,981 m); below 1,150 feet (350 m in) California

Habitat Preferences: Variable, grasslands, open woodlands, waste (ruderale) places and other disturbed areas, fields, rocky areas and roadways.

Recorded Range: Fetid Marigold is native throughout much of the United States and introduced in Ontario and Saskatchewan, Canada. It is also native to Mexico and into South America. In Arizona it is found in the northeast, east and southern parts of the state.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Dyssodia papposa.

North America species range map for Fetid Marigold, Dyssodia papposa:
North American range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation

North America species range map for Fetid Marigold, Dyssodia papposa: Click image for full size map.
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: In North America Dyssodia papposa can be weedy or invasive according to the following authoritative sources:

  • Weeds of Nebraska and the Great Plains.

  • Plants included here may become weedy or invasive.

    Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
    Wetland Indicator: Unknown
    Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

    Genus Information: In North America there is 1 species and 1 accepted taxa overall for Dyssodia. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 8 accepted species names and a further 7 scientific names of infraspecific rank for the genus.

    The genus Dyssodia is found in every state in the southwestern United States.

    The genus Dyssodia once included species now belonging to the genera Thymophylla and Adenophyllum.

    The genus Dyssodia was published in 1801 by Antonio Josè Cavanilles.

    Comments: Fetid Marigold is considered a weed perhaps because it has an odor which is unpleasant to some. Often the plant must be crushed in hand to experience the odor which is produced from glandular oils in the plant.

    Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
    Dyssodia papposa flowers and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals in search of food, nectar or cover.

    Special Value to Native bees, Butterflies and Insects
    Dyssodia papposa flowers and plants may be visited by native bees, butterflies and/or insects in search of food, nectar or cover.

    The genus Dyssodia (Dysso'dia:) is from the Greek word dysodia for “a disagreeable odor”.

    The genus Dyssodia was published in 1801 by Antonio José Cavanilles.

    The species epithet papposa (pappo'sa:) may be from the Latin for “with pappus” or from (pappus:) which may refer to the pappus of an asteraceous plant or derived from the Greek word pappos, meaning “a grandfather, or the first down on the chin,” such as down or fuzz.

    Dyssodia papposa is used for a multitude of purposes (gastrointestinal aid and as food source such as bread, cake and vegetable) by indigenous peoples of the United States.
  • Apache, Chiricahua & Mescalero Food, Bread & Cake and Unspecified and Vegetable; Seeds winnowed, dried, stored, ground into flour and used to make bread and Seeds roasted without grinding and combined with other foods and Tops cooked alone or with meat and used as greens.
  • Dakota Drug, Veterinary Aid and Forage; Compound decoction of plant used for horses with coughs and Plant given to horses for coughs and Plant considered a choice prairie dog food.
  • Keres, Western Drug, Febrifuge and Other; Infusion of fresh or dried plants taken or used as a rub for fever and Plant smoked for epileptic fits.
  • Lakota Drug, Analgesic and Antihemorrhagic and Reproductive Aid; Plant breathed in for headaches and Decoction of plant and gumweed blossoms taken for the spitting of blood and pulverized leaves used for breathing difficulties.
  • Navajo, Ramah Drug, Dermatological Aid and Gastrointestinal Aid; Poultice of chewed leaves applied to ant bites and Cold infusion of plant taken after swallowing a red ant.
  • Omaha Drug, Analgesic: Leaves stuffed up nostrils to cause nosebleed for headache.

  • See complete listing of ethno-botanical uses at Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn.

    Date Profile Completed: 8/18/2012; updated 07/03/2020
    Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960,University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
    U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 07/03/2020)
    The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 07/03/2020).
    Bruce G. Baldwin, adapted from Strother (2006) 2012, Dyssodia papposa, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, /eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=2508, accessed on July 03, 2020.
    John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae |Dyssodia; Dyssodia papposa (Ventenant) A. Hitchcock, Trans. Acad. Sci. St. Louis. 5: 503. 1891.; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.

    FNA 2006, Wiggins 1964, Kearney and Peebles 1969; Editor; S.Buckley 2010, A.Hazelton 2015, A.Hazelton 2017 from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; (accessed 07/03/2020).
    SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information.
    Etymology:Michael L. Charters California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology - (accessed 07/01/2020)