🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The humble Black-jack


Afrikaans - Khakibos 
Camera : Canon EOS 550D 

Essential oil is extracted from the Khaki bush - Tagetes minuta (also known as Tagetes glandulifera) of the Compositae family and is used as the base oil for many perfumes. I absolutely LOVE Khaki bush myself and often grab hold of a clump while walking in the veld, pulling the leaves through my hand, leaving a strong, oily smell which I just adore! 

Also known as Black-jacks here in South Africa, the black, spiky seeds are really irritating, clinging to your socks and pants and very time-consuming to get rid of. This 'weed' springs up profusely once the ground has been disturbed, as after ploughing, and it is not uncommon to see acres and acres on farm lands. 

The leaves and flowers are a good insect repellent and are often seen hanging from native huts to deter swarms of flies and mosquitoes. In a 5% dilution, tagetes oil has been used to kill maggots in open wounds, while the roots and seeds have been found to help rid the body of poisons. The therapeutic properties of Tagetes oil are anti-infectious, anti-microbial, antibiotic, anti-spasmodic, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, insecticide and sedative. 

After the Boer war in South Africa, Australian troops brought plants to their native land where it grew profusely. It is an ingredient of many foot treatment preparations - the oil is extracted from the leaves, stalks and flowers, picked when the seeds are just starting to form. 

Khaki bush oil is not to be confused with Marigold Tagetes oil, Tagetes Grandulifera, which is produced by steam distillation from the leaves and flowers of the Marigold. 

With many pests becoming resistant to commercially produced insecticides and pesticides, many of us have turned back to Mother Nature for a solution. Well, I at least have - I often pick clumps of Khaki bush, hanging them from the rafters in my bedroom and I also crush the leaves, soaking them in boiling water and then spraying my Bonsai for that pesky fly that lays brown eggs on the leaves, slowly killing the leaves off one by one.



  1. Thank you. After so much searching, Iv finaly found out what a 'blackjack' is in Afrikaans.

    1. Aaaah, glad to have been of assistance Anonymous and thanks for the visit!

  2. Tagetes minuta is not Black Jack (but IS Khaki Bos). completely different flower & leaf. Trying to find proper name for Black Jack.

    1. Thanks a lot for your input Chaos, looking forward to what you find out!

  3. The common blackjack (Bidens pilosa) is well-known to horse owners in South Africa. There can be few of us who have not spent ages picking them off our clothes after walking through the veld to catch horses in the early winter. Legend has it that, like the khakibos, this weed was brought into South Africa in the feed of horses imported from South America during the Boer War. However, the plant is listed as being indigenous to tropical Africa, so may have already been in South Africa at the time. From Cindy in Krugersdorp

    1. You are so right Anonymous, my favourite past-time picking them off my pants when coming back from my early-morning walk!



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