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Tagetes minuta is a tall upright marigold plant from the genus Tagetes, with small flowers, native to the southern half of South America. Since Spanish colonization, it has been introduced around the world, and has become naturalized in Europe, Asia, Australasia, North America, and Africa. Tagetes minuta has numerous local names that vary by region, most commonly found in the literature as chinchilla, chiquilla, chilca, zuico, suico, or anisillo. Other names include muster John Henry, Southern Cone marigold, Khakibos, stinking roger, wild marigold, and black mint.
It is used as a culinary herb in Peru, Ecuador, and parts of Chile and Bolivia. It is called by the Quechua terms huacatay in Peru or wakataya in Bolivia. It is commonly sold in Latin grocery stores in a bottled, paste format as black mint paste.
This species of marigold may grow to become from 0.6–2 meters tall.
Tagetes minuta has been eaten in various forms since pre-contact times. Dried leaves may be used as a seasoning and huacatay paste is used to make the popular Peruvian potato dish called ocopa. An herbal tea can be brewed from the leaves. An extraction of the plant, "Marigold oil", is used in the perfume, tobacco, and soft drink industry.
In addition to food, the plant can be used to produce dye and as a green manure crop for biomass and a bio-fumigant for control of selected species of nematodes.
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