Family

Asteraceae

What is it?

Attractive annual with large daisy-like flowers in summer and autumn.

Size

Height: 50cm. Spread: 40cm. 

Where to grow

Sunny border with well drained soil.

Distribution Map

Red dots: introductions
© BSBI & BRC, reproduced with permission

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One of our many cheerful cornfield flowers, this very easy annual produces large, daisy-like flowers throughout summer and autumn and is highly attractive to pollinators. 

True chamomile is a creeping perennial plant of grassland. As well as being an annual, this cornfield equivalent instead grows upright and well branched, the stems well clothed in neat little leaves that are grey-green and highly dissected, giving them a fern-like, feathery appearance. When crushed, their scent is strong and pungent. Each plant produces a profusion of large flowers - yellow and white daisies that appear over a long season from June until September. This species is often included in cornfield annual seed mixes to provide a softer foil to brighter Cornflowers, Corn Marigold and Corncockle.  

Along with many of our cornfield annuals, this species is an ancient introduction. Evidence suggests that it was brought to Britain from Europe by farmers in medieval times, around 1000 AD. By the 1800s it was regarded as one of the worst of agricultural weeds, but the advent of crop herbicides and more intensive farming brought around its demise. It has declined so severely that it’s now regarded as Endangered. Today, it’s most frequent in East Anglia and remains very scattered and rare outside this area.

This is one of the easiest annuals for the garden and a great plant for children to grow. Sow seed directly into the soil where you want plants to flower, sowing thinly in shallow drills in autumn or spring in well-drained soil in full sun. Autumn-sown plants will flower earlier and produce bigger plants.