Tanacetum parthenium (Feverfew)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; roadsides, fields, trail edges, vacant lots, gravel pits, weedy shores|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 2 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Daisy-type flowers in a flattish cluster at the top of the stem and the tips of branching stems. Flowers are ½ to 1 inch across with 10 to 30 short 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 as it matures.
The bracts surrounding the base of the flower (phyllaries) are in 2 or 3 layers, leathery, narrowly lance-linear, light green with a darker green tip and a narrow band of pale, membranous edging. Flower stalks are up to 4 inches long. Stalks and phyllaries are hairless to sparsely, minutely hairy.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, 1½ to 4 inches long, up to 2½ inches wide, egg to diamond-shaped in outline, 1 or 2 times pinnately lobed with rounded to bluntly pointed segments, and have a citrus-y odor when crushed. The upper surface is hairless or nearly so, the lower minutely hairy and gland-dotted. The lowest leaves are largest and stalked, becoming somewhat less lobed and stalkless as they ascend the stem. Stems are usually erect, branched or not, ridged, hairless at the base becoming minutely hairy in the flower clusters.
The center disk becomes a round head of dry, brown seeds. Seeds are ribbed, 1 to 2 mm long and lack a tuft of hairs.
Introduced from Europe, Feverfew has a long history of medicinal uses and has been widely cultivated. It sometimes escapes cultivation and may be found along roadsides, parking lots, trail edges, old fields, and other weedy places, though has rarely been encountered in Minnesota. The flower heads may resemble other weedy daisy-like species, such as Dog Fennel (Anthemis cotula) and Matricaria species, which all have more finely divided leaves with linear or thread-like segments and only some of which are aromatic when crushed.
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Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in a private garden.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?