Asteraceae / Aster
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Lore: Beatrix Potter must have been familiar with the effects of Chamomile when, in her book The Tale of Peter Rabbit, she had Peter's mother give him Chamomile tea after he had eaten too much from Mr. McGregor's garden.
Medical Uses: A tea from the flowers of various Chamomile species have been used medicinally in Europe at least sense medieval times. Ancient Egyptians also knew of its powers. Considered to be a stimulant, antispasmodic, anodyne, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, carminative, anti-inflammatory it is used to treat multifarious illinesses and conditions. The essential oil azulene is found in the various species known as Chamomile. Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis now considered Chamaemelum nobile) is the species most commonly used medicinally.
Similar Species: Stinking Chamomile (Anthemis cotula) AKA Mayweed; Dogfennel, is very easily confused. More common and widespread and also a naturalized native of Europe. The leaves have a foul odor. The disk becomes conical before the rays wilt and the rays are sterile.
Chamomile or German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is found occasionally in the north part of our area. It is also an non-native. It has a pleasant aroma and is glabrous.
Both Matricaria and Anthemis have other species that may occur rarely in our area.
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves