29 May 2012

Golden Marguerite or Oxeye Chamomile is Anthemis tinctoria

Oxeye Chamomile came to live in our garden several years ago when I saw a packet of seeds called something like pollinators favorites.

Being a big fan of pollinators, I ordered.

Anthemis tinctoria foliage - stems and leaves
 This lovely flower (weed?) is the only plant from that collection that re-seeds and returns every year. 

The MissouriPlants website has not been updated since 2007 but still remains a great resource since each year I go back to it to find the name of something or another. The site is conveniently organized by flower color and leaf form, making it invaluable to those of us who have too many plant names in our heads to pull out just one at a time.

It tells me that my yellow flower with lacy leaves is Anthemis tinctoria and more than I'll enter here -
Family - Asteraceae


Stems - To +1m tall, erect, herbaceous, multiple from base, branching above, sub-tomentose, producing stolons. Vascular tissue of stem appearing as parallel vertical lines on stem. Stems fragrant if crushed.
Leaves - Alternate, mostly sessile, sparse lanate and hispidulous on upper surface, sparse lanate below, deeply pinnatifid (the main divisions again pinnately lobed). Ultimate divisions toothed and mucronate (at least on the lower leaves). Lower leaves to +/-7cm long, 3cm broad. Upper leaves shorter but slightly more broad. All leaves fragrant when crushed.

Also
Anthemis tinctoria flower
Habitat - Waste ground, fields, moist woods, also cultivated.  

Origin - Native to Europe.

Fine Gardening Magazine suggests that Golden Marguerite be used in beds and pots from zone 3 to 7, so I guess we are at its southernmost comfort zone.

And, the ones that return and multiply each year are in half sun rather than out in the middle of the heat. And, if you look at the map on the USDA Plants Profile page, you'll note that the U.S. south is not its natural habitat.


USDA Plants Profile

Horizon Herbs calls it Dyers Chamomile, saying, "yellow daisies used to dye wool and as a salutary tea."
The University of TN points to its medicinal use: "The plant has also been used medicinally; when rubbed onto the skin its leaves can relieve the sting of insect bites."
The Illinois Wildflower site explains the pollinator connection.

"Because their nectar and pollen is relatively easy to reach, the flowerheads attract a wide variety of insects. In Europe, Müller (1873/1883) observed small bees (Colletes spp., Heriades spp., & Halictus spp.), Ichneumonid wasps, various flies (Syrphidae, Conopidae, & Muscidae), and beetles (Elateridae & Mordellidae) visiting the flowers. In North America, records of floral-fauna interactions for Yellow Chamomile are sparse. Caterpillars of the moth Orthonama obstipata (The Gem) have been observed to feed on Anthemis spp. (Covell, 1984/2005). According to Georgia (1913), grazing animals avoid consumption of Yellow Chamomile. The aromatic foliage is bitter-tasting and possibly toxic to such animals."

The Tom Clother site calls them sloppy - which they are!

These definitely are not tidy plants. They flop all over the place but I still love the flowers and will allow them their spot.







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