Papalo, Papaloquelite

Porophyllum ruderale subsp. macrocephalum

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Porophyllum (por-oh-FIL-um) (Info)
Species: ruderale subsp. macrocephalum




Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Foliage Color:



36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


White/Near White


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Mid Fall

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

5.6 to 6.0 (acidic)

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Davis, California

Los Angeles, California

Sebastopol, California

Fort White, Florida

Green Cove Springs, Florida

Hawthorne, Florida

Lake City, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Sebastian, Florida

Savannah, Georgia

Winterville, Georgia

Ithaca, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Austin, Texas

Logan, Utah

Gainesville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jul 20, 2016, AmyMorie from Green Cove Springs, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I love the flavor - like a cilantro with a lemon twist - and the flavor effect it has on a pot of pintos!

Low pest / disease incidence
Longer fresh availability than cilantro.
Easy to pull a few late season plants and hang inside for dry winter supply
High drought tolerance

Grows too easily in both 8b and 9a; may see listed as invasive eventually
Seeds will sprout everywhere
Some people do not like the smell - which is strong when brushed in the garden


On Jun 18, 2015, lokidog from Logan, UT wrote:

I like this plant, though the aroma can sort of become overwhelming. I can't really describe the taste or aroma - it's papalo (it does have some citrus notes - and perhaps floral ones too - and a sort of refreshing aroma?) I have to sort of rant THIS IS NOT EVEN CLOSELY RELATED TO CILANTRO. Every plant used as seasoning (in tropical climes) that is unfamiliar is compared to cilantro - and I'm just sick of it. I don't find any similarity in taste or look to cilantro in this plant. The ONLY similarity is it's use. Anyway its quite easy to grow - though the seeds are not that viable (or are variable in germination times) - but they transplant very easily.


On Feb 15, 2009, gooley from Hawthorne, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

I got few seeds to germinate, but maybe it needs higher temperatures and more time than I allowed (as an earlier note confirms). Tough, grows fairly quickly, can get leggy and blow over. I prefer the taste and smell to those of cilantro (not fond of that). Seed is very much in the Compositae style, reminding me a bit of dandelion or marigold. Definitely a plant to grow regularly, at least for me.


On Aug 25, 2008, kkane from Davis, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Easy to grow in Sacramento Valley (CA). Luscious. Addicting. Just try a few times and you are hooked. Full son, not picky about water. Grows to ~4’ here, flowers Sept/Oct. Germinates in June. Produces many seeds, which produce volunteers. Seed viability declines rapidly after a year or so. Brush the plant as you walk through the garden…brings smiles. My seed comes from my son, given to him by “Tall Man” when son was hitch-hiking to S. Baja. Favorite exotic herb. Thus, “Tall Man Papalo.”


On Sep 22, 2007, bmuller from Albuquerque, NM (Zone 7a) wrote:

I love the flavor of this plant--much more complex and exciting than cilantro, which is probably the closest familiar plant. I haven't had outstanding luck in getting the plant to really flourish in my climate, but I've enjoyed watching its growth and using its leaves, nevertheless. Apparently, it's supposed to develop some fairly impressive flowers, but I don't think mine will reach that point before frost!


On Mar 7, 2007, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This 3' annual is an ancient Mexican herb with unusual piquant green leaves. Sometimes is referred to as "cilantro on steroids". Has a complex nice flavor. In restaurants, papalo is put out in bowls and left on tables for diners to add to their food. Unlike cilantro this herb retains its flavor after it is dried. Good in soups, salads, tacos, beans, meats, etc...

Germ. @75-85 deg F for 2-3 wks.