Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

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

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Tagetes lemmonii, Lemmon’s Marigold

Lemmon’s Marigold has bright yellow flowers; the flower heads as noted here consist of both ray and disk florets. Tagetes lemmonii Lemmon’s Marigold has green leaves up to four inches (10 cm) long; they are pinnately lobed, linear to lanceolate. Tagetes lemmonii Lemmon’s Marigold is a shrub or subshrub, upright (erect) with numerous branches; plants are noticeably ill-scented. Tagetes lemmonii Lemmon’s Marigold blooms from August to as late as November following sufficient summer rainfall; preferred elevations are narrow, between 4,000 to 8,000 feet (1,219-2,438 m). Tagetes lemmonii

Scientific Name: Tagetes lemmonii
Common Name: Lemmon’s Marigold

Also Called: Alamos Marigold, Bush Marigold, Copper Canyon Daisy, Lemmon Marigold, Mexican Bush Marigold, Mt. Lemmon Marigold, Mountain Marigold, Perennial Marigold, Shrub Marigold, Tangerine-scented Marigold

Family: Asteraceae, Sunflower Family

Synonyms: (Tagetes alamensis, Tagetes palmeri)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: 4 to 20 inches (10-50 cm) or more 39 inches (100 cm)

Growth Form: Shrub or subshrub; plants upright (erect), numerous branches; plants noticeably ill-scented, diagnostic with other species of Tagetes.

Leaves: Leaves green; up to four inches (10 cm) long; leaves pinnately lobed, linear to lanceolate; edges (margins) dentate with fine hair-like spines on each tooth; arranged opposite along stems.

Flower Color: Bright yellow; flower heads in flat-topped array with both ray and disk florets; fruit is a cypsela.

Flowering Season: August to September, October or November following sufficient summer rainfall

Elevation: 4,000 to 8,000 feet (1,219-2,438 m)

Habitat Preferences: Rich, moist soils in canyons, cliffs, stream-side, grasslands, scrubland, woodlands, and pinyon juniper communities in southeastern Arizona.

Recorded Range: In the United States, Lemmon’s Marigold is found in southeast Arizona; Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties. Also found in northwest Mexico, Sinaloa and Sonora.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Tagetes lemmonii.

North America species range map for Lemmon's Marigold, Tagetes lemmonii:

Lemmon's Marigold, Tagetes lemmonii: Click image for full size map
Click image for full size map

U.S. Weed Information: Unknown
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: Unknown
Wetland Indicator: Unknown
Threatened/Endangered Information: Unknown

Genus Information: In North America there are 8 species and 8 accepted taxa overall for Tagetes. Worldwide, The Plant List includes 53 accepted species names and a further 16 scientific names of infraspecific rank for Tagetes.

The genus Tagetes was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona and Utah each have 2 species of Tagetes, California has 3 species, Nevada has 0 species, New Mexico and Texas each have 1 species. Data approximate, subject to revision.

Comments: The genus Tagetes includes the popular cultivated Marigolds, both the African and French varieties known for their handsome yellow-orange flowers and familiar "Marigold" scent. Lemmon’s Marigold, although limited in its native distribution to southeastern Arizona and northern Mexico, is readily available in the nursery trade and makes an ideal landscape specimen for desert gardens. Cultivated plants may grow up to 3 feet (.9 m) tall and 4 or 5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) wide blooming in both spring and fall.

Importance to Wildlife, Birds and Livestock
Lemmon's Marigold, Tagetes lemmonii has attractive daisy-like flowers, the flowers, their seeds and plants may be visited by hummingbirds and/or small mammals including rodents and granivorous birds in search of food, nectar and protection through cover.

Beneficial Value to Butterflies, Honey Bees and Insects
Lemmon's Marigold, Tagetes lemmonii has attractive daisy-like flowers, the flowers and their plants may be visited or used by butterflies, moths, flies, honeybees, (remove this if Native Bees paragraph used below) native bees and other insects in search of nectar, food or shelter and protection.

The genus “Tagetes” (Tage'tes:) named after the Etruscan god Tages who supposedly emerged from the earth as it was being ploughed and was imbued with the power of divination.

The genus Tagetes was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus, (1707-1778).

The species epithet lemmonii (lem'monii:) named after John Gill Lemmon, (1832-1908), who with his wife Sara Allen Plummer Lemmon (1836-1923), American Botanist, collected plants throughout the American West.

Thus this species is named for John Gill Lemmon, (1832-1908), and not for Mount Lemmon itself. However, Mount Lemmon in Arizona is named for John's wife Sara Allen Plummer as she was the first white woman to reach the top of it.


Date Profile Completed: 10/24/2012; updated 11/13/2020
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet;; accessed 11/13/2020.
Native Plant Information Network, NPIN (2013). Published on the Internet; accessed 11/13/2020. Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas, Austin, TX.
John L. Strother, FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 21 | Asteraceae; Tagetes, 2. Tagetes lemmonii A. Gray, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts. 19: 40. 1883.; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
, Flora of North America; Asteraceae, Genus, species; Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
FNA 2006, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973; Editor: L.Crumbacher 2011; from SEINet Field Guide, on-line; accessed 11/13/2020.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Tagetes lemmonii', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 23 February 2020, 18:06 UTC, [accessed 13 November 2020]
Wikipedia contributors, 'Sara Plummer Lemmon', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 November 2020, 01:07 UTC, [accessed 13 November 2020]
Copper Bittner, Lucy K. Bradley; Master Gardener, Maricopa County Master Gardener Volunteer Information; Last Updated January 25, 2003; Lucy K. Bradley, Extension Agent Urban Horticulture, University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, Maricopa County © 1997 The University of Arizona, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cooperative Extension in Maricopa County
Seiler, John, Peterson, John, North American species range map courtesy of Virginia Tech, Dept. of Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
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 11/13/2020)
IPNI (2020). International Plant Names Index. Published on the Internet, The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Harvard University Herbaria & Libraries and Australian National Botanic Gardens. [Retrieved 13 November 2020].