Matricaria chamomilla L.

wild chamomile

Copyright: various copyright holders. To reuse an image, please click it to see who you will need to contact.

New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

Found this plant? Take a photo and post a sighting.

North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

enlarge

Facts About

Wild chamomile is also known as German chamomile. Native to Europe and Asia, and adventive in many other parts of the world. This species is grown commercially worldwide for use as an herbal tea and for pharmaceutical extracts. It has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-allergic, and sedative properties.

Habitat

Anthropogenic (man-made or disturbed habitats), meadows and fields

Characteristics

Habitat
terrestrial
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island
Leaf type
leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
Leaf arrangement
alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
Leaf blade edges
the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
Flower type in flower heads
the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
Ray flower color
white
Tuft or plume on fruit
there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
Spines on plant
the plant has no spines
Leaf blade length
5–78 mm
Disk flower number
more than 50
Show All Characteristics
  • Flowers
    Bases of bract appendages
    NA
    Bract cycle number
    there are three or more cycles of bracts
    Bract separation
    the bracts appear completely unconnected to one another on all flower heads
    Disk flower color
    yellow
    Disk flower lobe number
    5
    Disk flower number
    more than 50
    Disk flower reproductive parts
    the disk flower has both pollen- and seed-producing parts
    Disk width
    5–9.5 mm
    Flower head number
    • each flowering stem has four or more flower heads on it
    • each flowering stem has only one to three flower heads on it
    Flower head outer flowers
    at the outer edge of the flower head, each flower has a single enlarged lobe or strap
    Flower head platform
    the base has no bristles or papery scales
    Flower head platform surface
    NA
    Flower head position
    each of the flower heads is separate on its own peduncle (stalk), not clustered in groups
    Flower head profile
    the disk is conical across the top
    Flower type in flower heads
    the flower head has tubular disk flowers in the center and ray flowers, these often strap-shaped, around the periphery
    Height of flower head base
    2–3.2 mm
    Inflorescence branching (Solidago)
    NA
    Number of bracts at flower head base
    34–42
    Ovary attachment
    the ovary is attached at the side near the base, rather than at the base
    Ovary cross-section
    the ovary is compressed (flattened)
    Ovary hair type
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary hairs
    the ovary has no hairs on it
    Ovary lines or ribs
    • there are four to six lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    • there are three lines or ribs visible on the ovary
    Ovary surface
    the ovary surface has no points, bumps or wrinkles, though it may have lines, ribs or wings
    Peduncle length
    5–75 mm
    Ray flower color
    white
    Ray flower reproductive parts
    the ray flowers have carpels or stamens, but not both
    Ray flowers
    • 11-15
    • 16-25
    • 26-50
    • 6-10
    Ray length
    7–8.5 mm
    Reproductive system
    some of the flowers on the plant have only carpels or stamens, while others have both carpels and stamens
    Scale tip
    NA
    Style branches
    the style branch is wider at the tip and has a flattened end, or the style branches are wider at the tips and have flattened ends
  • Fruits or seeds
    Number of pappus parts
    • 0
    • 1
    Ovary length in developed fruit
    0.75–0.9 mm
    Seed hair tuft bases
    NA
    Seed hair tuft color
    NA
    Seed hair tuft details
    NA
    Seed hair tuft tips
    NA
    Seed hairs uniform
    NA
    Seed tuft scale number
    0
    Seed tuft type
    • the pappus is made of a circle or rim of lobes or teeth on the ovary
    • there is no pappus on the ovary
    Top of disk flower ovary
    NA
    Tuft or plume on fruit
    there is no plume, or the plume is made up of scales, awns, a crown, or a rim
  • Glands or sap
    Sap
    the sap is clear and watery
  • Growth form
    Growth form
    the plant has one or more free-standing stems
    Plant lifespan
    the plant is annual, it lacks evidence of previous years' growth
    Spines on plant
    the plant has no spines
    Underground organs
    there is a thickened taproot on the plant
  • Leaves
    Hairs on underside of leaf blade
    • the underside of the leaf is fuzzy or hairy
    • the underside of the leaf is not hairy, or has very few hairs
    Leaf arrangement
    alternate: there is one leaf per node along the stem
    Leaf blade base
    • the leaf has a distinct petiole
    • the leaf has no petiole
    Leaf blade bloom
    the underside of the leaf has no noticeable bloom
    Leaf blade edges
    the edge of the leaf blade has no teeth or lobes
    Leaf blade length
    5–78 mm
    Leaf blade shape
    the leaf blade is linear (very narrow with more or less parallel sides)
    Leaf blade surface colors
    there is no noticeable color variation on the upper surface of the leaf
    Leaf blade width
    3–18 mm
    Leaf disposition
    the leaves are nearly similar in size, prominence of teeth, and length of stalks throughout the stem
    Leaf spines
    there are no spines on the leaf edges
    Leaf stalk
    • the leaves have leaf stalks
    • the leaves have no leaf stalks, but attach directly to the stem
    Leaf tip extension
    NA
    Leaf type
    leaves are simple (i.e., lobed or unlobed but not separated into leaflets)
    Leaflet number
    0
    Specific leaf type
    the leaf has a row of two or more lobes on each side of the central axis, and each lobe itself has rows of lobes on each side of the lobe's central axis
  • Place
    Habitat
    terrestrial
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    Specific habitat
    • man-made or disturbed habitats
    • meadows or fields
  • Scent
    Plant odor
    the plant has a pleasant odor, such as licorice, fruit or resin
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Flowering stem cross-section
    the flowering stem is circular, or with lots of small angles
    Leaves on stem
    there is at least one full leaf above the base of the flowering stem
    Stem bloom
    • the stem has a powdery or waxy film on it that can be rubbed away
    • there is no powdery or waxy film on the stem
    Stem internode hair direction
    NA
    Stem internode hair length
    0 mm
    Stem internode hair type
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem internode hairs
    the stem has no hairs between the nodes
    Stem wings
    the stem does not have wings on it

Wetland Status

Not classified

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
absent
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
absent

Conservation Status

None

Native to North America?

No

Sometimes Confused With

Anthemis cotula:
center portion of receptacle of flower head with scales between the flowers and foliage ill-scented (vs. M. chamomilla, with receptacle of flower head lacking scales between the flowers and foliage pleasantly odorous).
Tripleurospermum maritimum:
receptacle slightly raised and rounded near the center and foliage relatively unscented (vs. M. chamomilla, with receptacle raised and pointed near the center and foliage pleasantly odorous).

Synonyms

  • Chamomilla chamomilla (L.) Rydb.
  • Matricaria chamomilla L. var. coronata J. Gay ex Boiss.

Family

Asteraceae

Genus

Matricaria

Notes on Subspecies and Varieties in New England

Matricaria chamomilla L. var. chamomilla is known from CT, MA, ME, RI.M. chamomilla var. recutita (L.) Fiori is known from CT, MA, ME.

Need Help?

Get Help

Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

1.  Matricaria chamomilla L. E

wild chamomile.  1a. Chamomilla chamomilla (L.) Rydb.; Matricaria chamomilla L. var. coronata J. Gay ex Boiss.;  1b. Chamomilla recutita (L.) Rauschert; Matricaria recutita L. 
• CT, MA, ME, RI. Fields, roadsides, waste areas.

1a.  Pappus of a short crown at the summit of the ovary present on ray flowers and sometimes also on the disk flowers … 1a. M. chamomilla var. chamomilla


1b.  Pappus absent on all flowers … 1b. M. chamomilla var. recutita (L.) Fiori

Variety chamomilla is known from CT, MA, ME, RI. Variety recutita is known from CT, MA, ME. See Applequist (2002) for nomenclature of this species.