Tagetes (Tage’tes) are annuals of great decorative value during the summer and autumn months. They are natives of Mexico and South America and belong to the Daisy family, Compositae. The name is said to have been derived from a mythological deity, Tages. These Marigolds are quite distinct from the Pot Marigold or Calendula. See Calendula
The two chief types of Tagetes are the African Marigold, Tagetes erecta, and the French Marigold, Tagetes patula. The former reaches a height of 2-4 ft. and bears large, single or double flowers of orange or yellow coloring; the latter grows from 9 in. to 2 ft. high and the flowers are yellow, or yellow marked with reddish-brown. In recent years hybrids between the African and French varieties have been developed. In addition, two other species of Tagetes are grown in gardens, T. lucida, the Sweet-scented Marigold, and T. tenuifolia (signata).
The African Marigolds are represented by numerous handsome double varieties which bear large, rounded flowers in orange and various shades of yellow, on strong stems. They are extremely useful in garden beds and borders during the summer months. Much effort has been spent in attempting to develop a white-flowered variety and while not yet successful some modern varieties have pale creamy yellow flowers.
In height of plants and form of flowers their is considerable variation and groups of varieties are designated in seedsmens’ catalogs as Carnation Flowered and Chrysanthemum Flowered. There are many other varieties with flowers in a great number of distinct shapes and forms, and some, even, with odorless foliage. If the plants are well grown they will last in bloom until cut down by frost, and provide brilliant masses of color in the garden in autumn.Read more on backyardgardener.com