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Daisy like Cultivars and Their Wild Relatives -part Three -mayweeds and Their Allies

Updated on August 5, 2015

Daisy like flowers

Daisy like cultivars, are popular garden plants.
Daisy like cultivars, are popular garden plants.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman.

This is the third in this series that looks at the wild relatives of the daisy like flowers that are so popular in gardens. The first hub -DAISY-LIKE CULTIVARS AND THEIR WILD RELATIVES. The second THISTLES AND THISTLE LIKE FLOWERS A SEQUEL TO DAISY-LIKE CULTIVARS AND THEIR WILD RELATIVES.

In this hub we look at the wild flora which sport daisy-like flowers.Our first subject is the scentless mayweed, Tripuerospermum inodorum . In older herbals and wild flower books they may be called by their former Latin name of Matricaria inodorum.

Like many of this group they are found as an arable weed, but they may also be located on waste land, road sides and on footpaths. I find this to be an attractive plant which forms bushier masses than other mayweeds and are easily identified by their solid, domed shaped central yellow disc, and spreading white ray florets.


The scentless mayweed, is an attractive plant. Photograph by D.A.L.
The scentless mayweed, is an attractive plant. Photograph by D.A.L.


The foliage is finely divided giving a thread like appearance yet they have a fleshy feel to them. They flower from June until October, and may attain the height of 20-60cm {2feet}. The flower-heads are 2-4cm wide.

It can be identified from its close relative the Scented mayweed, Chamomilla recuitita, by the latter having a hollow central disc, a looser foliage habit and as it's common name suggests it has a scent reminiscent of chamomile.

The latter species has been used medicinally to treat stomach, bowel and skin problems in the past. It is claimed that the oil extracted from the plant aids liver regeneration. For home use an infusion of the plant can be applied as a lotion externally for skin complaints.

These plants are not palatable to grazing animals and are even avoided by hens. The seeds produced by the plant simply fall to the ground but are often spread by the whirling blades of the combine harvester.

Our next subject the common chamomile Anthemis nobilis sometimes referred to as Chamaemelum nobile, is probably the plant most familiar to most readers. It has been used in medicinal preparations since at least the time of the ancient Egyptians and there is no sign of the their popularity waning. Records show that it has been grown in the gardens of England for centuries as a medicinal herb.


chamomile foliage is deeply divided. Photograph by D.A.L.
chamomile foliage is deeply divided. Photograph by D.A.L.

A look at Chamomile

The species is a low growing often trailing its bushy divided foliage, which attains the height or length of 30cm { 1 foot }. The root system consists of jointed and fibrous growth. The flowers appear late in the summer from July onwards {locally} and are arranged singly on long stalks sometimes erect sometimes trailing. The flowers droop when in bud. The flower heads are composed of a central yellow disc made up from tubular florets surrounded by a fringe of spreading white ray-florets {that most people refer to as the petals.} They are very similar to the flower heads produced by the common daisy, however, in the chamomile the central disc is more conical in nature compared to flattish central disc of the daisy.

Chamomile delights to dwell on dry commons and in sandy soil in other locations. Chamomile tea is as popular today as it has ever been, and may be purchased in "tea" bag form from health shops and drug stores. They are said to be a general tonic and promote appetite, especially good for those of a more mature age.

There are other species of this group of plants including the foetid smelling -Stinking chamomile,Anthemis cotula, and the Sea mayweed, Matricaria maritima.

The pineapple weed Matricaria discoidea formerly known as Matricaria suaveolons differs from the others by only producing flower heads composed of tubular disc florets, lacking ray florets completely, thus is sometimes referred to as the rayless mayweed. The common name of pine apple weed is said to derive from the shape of the flower head which is said to resemble a small pineapple. Also when the flower-head is crushed between the fingers it omits a scent similar to that of the pineapple.

Pineapple weed

Pineapple weed .Photograph by D.A.L.
Pineapple weed .Photograph by D.A.L.

Introduced from America

They flower from June to October. Is a native of central Asia and North America. It was thought to have been introduced to this country from Oregon in the U.S.A during the 1800s.

One of my favourite wild flowers is the corn marigold Chrysanthemum segetum,it appears quite robust at first glance but left to its own devises it would soon collapse. It needs the support of other vegetation in its favoured habitat the corn field, hence its common name.

Corn marigold

Components of the corn marigold.
Components of the corn marigold.


The foliage is of a fleshy nature as resembles somewhat the foliage of the Ox-eye daisy, but on a smaller scale, being deeply lobed and toothed. The upper ones clasp the stem. However it is the golden yellow flower heads that make this plant so attractive to look upon.They consist of overlapping, broad ray florets which are toothed or notched at their tips and a central flattish disc florets which are often orangey in colour.The flower heads are 3.5cm wide

The plant attains the height of 30-70cm{one to one and a half feet} and may be encountered in flower from June until August. this species was once considered to be a pest of cereal crops but since the advent of intensive use of pesticides as it has, like many other species, become much scarcer, in the U.K. over the last 50 years.

Our final subjects of this particular hub is the mugwort and worm wood. The mugwort Artemisia vulgaris which delights to grow on wasteland,farm yards, hedge banks and by the side of farmland tracks.It is a tall perennial plant which produces insignificant flowers which grow in spike like clusters of a yellow colour when they first appear but soon change to a reddish brown colour.


components of the mugwort.
components of the mugwort.

Related to the Wormwood

The plant is closely related to the very similar looking wormwood Artemisia abinthium which has yellow flowers. However, it is by the foliage that the two species can be more readily identified.

The foliage of the mugwort are smooth and of a dark green colour on the upper surface, but of a silvery colour below due to a fine down that abides there along with the distinct veins. the margins however, remain green giving the leaf an outlined appearance. The are cut into deep segments that are lance shaped and pointed, where those of the wormwood are blunt and more rounded.

Mugwort grows to the height of three feet or more {90cm+], they may be encountered in flower from June until September.

Mugwort images

mugwort is a tall growing perennial. Photograph By D.A.L.
mugwort is a tall growing perennial. Photograph By D.A.L.
foliage of mugwort has pointed lobes. Photograph by D.A.L.
foliage of mugwort has pointed lobes. Photograph by D.A.L.

Medicinal uses

Both of these species have been utilised in medicinal preparations . The active ingredients of the wormwood is essential oil, particularly thujon, bitters and absinthin. Wormwood was employed against loss of appetite, digestive disorders, liver and gall bladder problems. wormwood was also used as a culinary herb or spice. Modern day uses is by way of an infusion used to stimulate appetite and to aid digestion.

Mugwort,has active ingredients of some essential oil and bitters. It was also employed against digestive disorders, and to treat diarrhoea. It is said to repel insects. An infusion of this plant is still used to gain back one's appetite and to clear the symptoms of Diarrhoea.

In the final hub of this species I will look at the late flowering species that belong to this family which includes woundherbs and those with dandelion - like flowers.


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    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi suny51thank you ,too, for your visit and for leaving your appreciated comments.

      Hi Darski, that must have been an amazing sight, nature is awesome,love and best wishes my friend.

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      9 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      Awesome pictures and I think the wild fields are the best part of nature. When living in California, one year my son and I drove from the coast five hours to Las Veges Navada. It was Mothers day and the wild Poppy's, the Califorina flower, was blooming every where we looked, out over the desert were patches of oranges and yellows of many shades, a dry desert coming alive before your eyes for miles and miles on every hills and valley. Nature is bloomer fabulous....Love this hub and you....darski

    • suny51 profile image


      9 years ago

      Hi D.A.L.

      Another great one with lots of useful information from you.Thank you so much.useful

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      B, thank you so much.

      msorensson, your welcome. Many of this group are coastal plants. Thank you for your kind comments.

    • msorensson profile image


      9 years ago

      I love these. Thank you for the lovely pictures which reminded me of our trip to the coast of Sweden, many many summers ago.

    • Joy56 profile image


      9 years ago

      Another informative, and beautifully illustrated hub thanks


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