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Don’t mess with the Texas tarragon

Texas tarragon flowersWhen I first talked about the Texas tarragon, Annie at The Transplantable Rose tipped me off to the fact that I was due for some really pretty little flowers.

I made note of that in my pea brain, then forgot. This is why I keep archives, folks. Otherwise, how am I supposed to remember anything I allegedly know about gardening?

Sure enough, over the weekend, the plant finally bloomed, producing some of the sweetest yellow flowers y’all ever did see. I haven’t actually eaten any of it yet, but it’s sure purty to look at.

Don’t mess with the Texas tarragon, people.

Note: This is my post for Weekend Herb Blogging, which returns to Kalyn’s Kitchen, hosted by the event’s founder, Kalyn, this week. Please stop by on Sunday afternoon for the full round-up!

23 Comments on “Don’t mess with the Texas tarragon”

  1. #1 Kalyn
    on Jun 29th, 2007 at 10:07 am

    Very pretty indeed. I’m hoping you will eat some and let us know what it tastes like. According to the few minutes of research I did when I was writing about French tarragon, the flavor of Texas tarragon (also called Spanish or Mexican tarragon I think) is stronger. I loved my French tarragon, I just wish I had more!

  2. #2 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 29th, 2007 at 11:30 am

    Kalyn, so far it’s not big enough that I’ve felt like I should cut any of it back, but you’re right, I need to try it. Also, if the flavor is stronger than French, I bet I would need less of it to pack the same punch. I promise to experiment and report back!

  3. #3 Katiez
    on Jun 29th, 2007 at 2:34 pm

    So, do we know what Texas Tarragon tastes like?

    We know it’s pretty, but is it more than just a pretty face?

  4. #4 Annie in Austin
    on Jun 29th, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    Hi Genie,

    The tarragony-taste worked pretty well in a sauce for chicken. I only used the leaves, not the flowers. What’s surprising me it that yours are blooming now… they usually appear on my plants in late summer. Did we all swap weather patterns this June?


  5. #5 mgpaquin
    on Jun 29th, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    I’ve got some growing for my housemate, who loves tarragon. (I hate it, myself…) We can’t grow the “real deal” French tarragon successfully here, but the Texas tarragon is going from strength to strength. It also will root from the stem if it gets knocked over by rain or wind. I had to extract it from my parsley the other day. He hasn’t tried it yet, but from the leaves I’ve picked off and nibbled from time to time (just checking to see if it really tastes like tarragon… skeptical!) the flavor is similar to French tarragon, but a bit “sharper.” He’ll have to be the real decider, though.

  6. #6 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 30th, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Katiez, I don’t know the answer yet, but will definitely give it a try soon. I’d been waiting for it to be a bit bigger.

    Annie, I wasn’t really sure when to expect it to bloom, but I will admit that this felt kind of quick to me. The weather patterns are bizarre…

    Mgpaquin, let me know what the housemate thinks, and how he uses it. I’m curious!

  7. #7 Ki
    on Jun 30th, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    I thought I was looking at marigolds. It’s a very pretty flower.

  8. #8 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 30th, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Ki, it reminds me of marigolds a little bit, too. I definitely like the teeny blossoms.

    In the meantime, to those who had questions about the tarragon’s taste, it’s definitely good! I just used some tonight in some sauteed green beans — really quite delicious. It was surprisingly strong for the small number of leaves I threw in. But tasty…

  9. #9 Jim Miller
    on Mar 6th, 2008 at 6:20 pm

    I have grown Texas Tarragon for many years. It is my all time favorite herb. I have moved cross country and folks do not know what T.T. is all about. Do you know where I can buy the seeds or dry root?

  10. #10 inadvertentgardener
    on Mar 14th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Jim, I don’t actually know where you can get the seeds or the dry root — I’ve only bought it as a seedling. It was a great addition to my garden last year — I definitely loved it!

  11. #11 Cynthia
    on Apr 16th, 2008 at 6:28 am

    This is for Jim Miller.

    I just purchased a Texas Tarragon plant from Lowe’s here on the East Coast. I don’t know where you are located but if you have a Lowe’s you might want to check there for the plants.

  12. #12 inadvertentgardener
    on Apr 20th, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    Cynthia, thanks for providing that info — hopefully it’ll help Jim out!

  13. #13 NANNIE ANNIE
    on May 7th, 2008 at 10:49 am

    I just saw it yesterday at a Home Deport here in Denver. That’s why I was here on the website since I haven’t tried it before and was wondering about replacing the French since HD had none of the French. HD also called it Mexican Mint, but it had no sniff of mint.

  14. #14 susieq
    on May 28th, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    I bought mine in a Wal*Mart near Sacramento, CA. My neighbor had some, but neither of us knew what it really was. My French tarragon has gone native and has no smell or taste so I thought I would try something different.

  15. #15 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 3rd, 2008 at 11:23 pm

    Nannie and Susieq, thanks for those Western tarragon sightings!

  16. #16 Kathleen
    on Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:26 am

    I googled and stumbled upon your page….I am in NH and am doing the garden thing for the first time and purchased some Texas Tarragon and I dont know a thing about it…I am just getting flowers on some of it now…..I have it planted in window boxes hanging off the deck and they are doing VERY well…I have 2 plants on one side of the box and 2 oregano plants on the other side of the box…..I dont know when to harvest or how to harvest….I have tasted the leaves and they are tasty and strong….the plants are definitely very healthy…but do I harvest the flowers…..harvest leaves from the top….will it kill the plant….does it come back? Do any herbs come back? I’m definitely a newbie, but really enjoying it…..I just need some help! :) Thanks!


  17. #17 inadvertentgardener
    on Jun 30th, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Kathleen, I never used the flowers in anything — I’m not sure whether they’re edible or not. But I usually just stripped the leaves from the stems (cut off as much stem as I needed from the plant, and yes, it grew back mightily!), and chopped them up for whatever I needed.

    I hope that helps!

  18. #18 MB in USC
    on Mar 19th, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    I had a single plant of TT last summer, and it was great. Left it in a pot on a south facing wall/window sill. Did very well, just had to remember to water it, as it was simply in its original 1 g. pot.

    Great tarragon flavor. Harvest the leaves by picking / cutting them with a few 3″-4″ stems. Strip the leaves, leave them somewhere to dry, then put them in your Schilling Tarragon bottle………you’ll love it!!

    Great on tilapia…..SLOW / LOW cook the filet in a lard coated skillet, powder the tarragon on after turning it once, then finish with a bit of butter and sea salt. Never new tilapia could taste so good.

    Keep cutting / trimming / drying the leaves. It keep us in tarragon all winter. Can’t wait to get a couple more plants this spring.

  19. #19 jerry massimei
    on Jun 18th, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    I bought what was supposed to be Texas tarragon and it looks very much like all the pictures on the internet. However, to me, it has a licorice taste. Does anyone agree?

  20. #20 Tina
    on Aug 25th, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    It’s also called Mexican marigold mint. Smells quite minty. Tastes really strong + minty raw. I’m harvesting mine to dry now and see what it’s like when dried. From the posts here, I think I will enjoy it!

  21. #21 Robert
    on Jan 9th, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Love the taste of Tarragon, especially with chicken. But so expensive in store, and just wouldnt grow in my garden in Hawaii, although everything else has thrived. Ran across “Texas Tarragon” in a local nursery. Its thrived in my garden in low water summers, very wet hawaiian winters – I cant personally tell any difference between French and this…both dried and fresh. Flowers taste stronger, have used a few in salads and dry them along with the leaves .

    Great, hardy herb. Flowers almost year around in Hawaii, and needs a strong bit of cut back every 6 months.

  22. #22 June Connerley
    on Jul 24th, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Here in the windy north east of England, UK, not far from the ancient city of York, I’m growing French Tarragon for the first time and was trying to find pictures of its flowers, and came across your very informative site. I don’t know what Texas Tarragon is, as opposed to the French and Russian varieties, but it sounds a lot more robust and I think would withstand the weather conditions here. (Not the winters which can be a bit fierce!!) Do you buy your Texas variety in seed form or as established plants from your nurseries? I’d love to try growing some – having first checked that it’s legal for me to import seed into the UK.

  23. #23 inadvertentgardener
    on Aug 12th, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    June, I bought mine as a plant from a local hardware store, but I can’t imagine it would be that hard to grow from seed!

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