Anthemis cotula (Dog Fennel)

Plant Info
Also known as: Stinking Chamomile, Mayweed
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:annual
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; disturned soil; roadsides, gravel pits, clearings, agricultural fields
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:6 to 24 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 7+petals

[photo of flower] Daisy-type flowers, single at the tips of branching stems. Flowers are 2/3 to 1¼ inches across with 10 to 16 white petals (ray flowers) with 3 small teeth at the tip, and a golden yellow center disk that expands from button-shaped to dome-shaped to nearly round as it matures.

[photo of bracts] The bracts surrounding the base of the flower are in 2 or 3 layers, narrowly lance-linear to triangular, green with a wide band of pale, membranous edging and covered in long, bent or cobwebby hairs. Flower stalks are slender, hairless to sparsely hairy.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of leaves] Leaves are alternate, 1 to 2½ inches long, up to 1¼ wide, 1 or 2 times pinnately lobed with short, linear, sharply pointed segments, and short-stalked to stalkless. Surfaces are hairless to sparsely hairy and have an unpleasant odor when crushed. Leaves are mostly alternate with the lowest leaves opposite. Stems are usually erect, much branched, hairless to sparsely hairy, green or tinged red, and gland-dotted.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

The center disk becomes a round head of dry, dark brown seeds that lack a tuft of hairs. Seeds are ribbed and covered in small protrusions (tubercules) and often gland-dotted.


A weed introduced from Eurasia, Dog Fennel is now widespread in North America and found sporadically across Minnesota, mostly along roadsides and farm fields. It is allelopathic, releasing chemicals that inhibit the growth of competing plants and allow it to form dense colonies. Similar to the also-weedy Matricaria and Tripleurospermum species, the unpleasantly smelly leaves are a good distinguishing characteristic. The leaf segments of Anthemis are also pinnately lobed (divisions on opposite sides of the common stalk) where the other 2 species have branching segments with the lobes more thread-like.

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More photos

Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Dodge counties.


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