"Pipicha" or "Pepicha" – A Mexican Herb Used Like Cilantro
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Cheryl Rogowski
Posted on: May 3, 2002

I am trying to locate a source for a Mexican herb. I have seen it spelled pipicha and pepicha. The latin name is pipicha porophyllum tagetoides

The latin name is "Porophyllum tagetoides". The "pipicha" part must be a local name, but it definitely is not part of the latin name. For evidence, here is a reference to the latin name:


It is a warm-weather annual with a taste much like a very strong cliantro, pepicha is used in green salsas, and in cooking corn and squash.

It is very close to what we call "papalo" in our catalogue. The latin name of papalo is Porophyllum ruderale var. macrocephalum, so you can see that pipicha and papalo belong to the same botanical genus.

We do not have the exact species you are looking for but you might want to try our papalo instead.

[Response from Cheryl Rogowski]

Thank you but I already have the papalo. My Mexican customers are very specific in requesting the pepicha and insist that the two are different.

We’ll keep our eyes open for it then – sounds interesting.

Perhaps Madeline Hill who used to run Hilltop Herb Farm in Texas can be a help. She is very knowledgeable about Mexican culinary herbs. I have cc-ed this message to her.

Let me know if you find this plant – I would like to try growing it

[Response from Madeline Hill]

I do not know any of the Porophyllums by this name. Texas has 4 native ones Porophyllum scoparium, P. Greggi Gray, P. gracile and P. ruderale subsp. macrocephalum. And I grow one from Bolivia. If you can give me the source or state in Mexico that "Pipicha" is used it might help in identification. The papalo that I grow and is also the one that I passed on to Richters is from the state of Guerrero.

In both Mexico and Bolivia the Porophyllums are called "papaloquelite". A small leaved porophyllum from Bolivia is also called "papaloquelite", "Quiniquilla" or "Herba Galinazo" which roughly translated is "buzzard’s breath". While I am not an authority on the breath of buzzards and my traffic with them is on a now and then basis, I can vouch that it is powerful like its big relative which is called "bighead poreleaf" in West Texas and papalo in Mexico. The Bolivian "Herba Galinazo" is a popular variety because it is smaller leaved and grows to only about 30" and is easier to handle in the home garden. They all smell very strong like coriander leaf or cilantro.

Again, tell me the state this query is coming from and some description of height and leaf size and perhaps I can identify it for you.

I find a P. tridentatum is also grown in Mexico, but not P.tagetiodes. Tell me where you found this latin name. That might help.

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