Epazote (Chenopodium acuminatum)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Epazote
Give a thumbs up Mastruz
Give a thumbs up Erva-de-Santa-Maria
Give a thumbs up Mexican Tea

Botanical names:
Chenopodium acuminatum Accepted
Chenopodium ambrosioides Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Annual
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Plant Height: 3 to 4 feet
Plant Spread: 2 to 3 feet
Leaves: Fragrant
Flowers: Inconspicuous
Flower Color: White
Flower Time: Summer
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Culinary Herb
Resistances: Humidity tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Start indoors
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger

Young plant, a native that grows in the wild

Photo gallery:

Posted by wildflowers (North East Texas - Zone 7b) on Feb 26, 2013 10:38 AM

You will know by smelling the plant that it is epazote, which has a pungent odor that smells similar to turpentine with hints of camphor or eucalyptus. It is useful as a culinary herb, especially in Mexican and South American recipes. I like the flavor it adds to a pot of beans. Just a little sprig of about 3 or 4 leaves is all you need to add some nice authentic flavor.

C. ambrosioides also has a history of medicinal uses.

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Posted by gardengus (Indiana Zone 5b) on Jun 2, 2015 2:25 PM

This plant self sows abundantly. To keep it from being an unwanted weed, I only let one small stalk go to seed and lay it where I want plants to grow the next year . I leave a garden marker so I do not forget the placing, but the seedlings are so aromatic that they do get noticed if they are being weeded out.

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Posted by tabbycat (Youngsville, LA - Zone 9b) on Jun 21, 2018 3:07 PM

I grew this last year for the 1st time having never even heard of it. I got the seeds in the seed swap here, Jan.2017. It grew very well here in south Louisiana, forming a whopping 3'x3' bush at the end of a garden row. I saved a few seeds, but wouldn't have had to as it was perennial here in zone 9 and returned from the roots in spring 2018. I also found a few volunteer plants from seeds that fell. I love the smell and taste, so I add a little to meat dishes as well as a variety of beans I cook. I never tried it as tea, though. It could be quite a strong taste.

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Plant Events from our members
tabbycat On June 1, 2019 Maintenance performed
4' x 4' so cut back sharply to 2' x 2'. Will dry some leaves for fresh 2019 seasoning.
tabbycat On February 1, 2019 Winterized
I cut it back sharply to 1 ft.X 1 ft. It's winter hardy here in Zone 9.
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