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Porophyllum ruderale

Porophyllum ruderale
Just planted, mid-June
papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro
Growing nicely, mid-August
Common name papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro
Family asteraceae
Life cycle annual
Flowers yellow (late summer-fall)
Size 3-5'
Light sun

Papaloquelite is an annual herb with fragrant leaves that can be used for seasoning food. The species originated in South America, but has been grown in Mexico and the southwestern U.S. for centuries. Our plants arrived bare-root as part of our CSA (community-supported agriculture) share in June, and since we didn't have much of an idea how to use them in cooking (mostly, preparing salsas), I decided to just set them out in different areas of the garden to observe them for a while. Some of these stayed scrawny and didn't grow much, while others bushed out impressively to make attractive volumes of bluish-green texture. When hurricane Harvey blew through (and, more pertinently, drenched everything thoroughly) nearly all of them flopped over and resisted being uprighted, although most of them stayed alive in their horizontal positions, and continued to scent the air around them with their pleasantly spicy aroma. In mid-September they were suddenly covered in elongated green buds, which shortly thereafter developed nondescript flower parts at their tops – I assume they are wind-pollinated, since no insect in its right mind would be attracted to them. But pollinated they were, because a few weeks later the structures opened up to reveal brittle seedheads like those of a dandelion, but with heavier seed-sticks that persist longer in a breeze. By late fall, the mother plants were all done, but soon after I removed the declining plants, I noticed lots of seedlings, mostly around where the plants had lived but also some distance away. So perhaps papaloquelite will be with us to stay.

Porophyllum ruderale
In September, green buds...
papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro
...give rise to non-showy greenish-white flowers...
Porophyllum ruderale
...and dandelion-like seedheads in October
papaloquelite; yerba porosa; summer cilantro
All gone to seed
Porophyllum ruderale
An abundance of seedlings

In our garden, this plant grows in the following area: back fence border

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