This perennial wildflower is 1-3' tall, branching frequently. The stems
are light gray-green, terete, and sparsely to moderately covered with
short fine hairs. The
alternate leaves are 1½-3" long, ¾-1½" across, and lanceolate,
oblanceolate, or ovate in outline; each leaf is pinnate-pinnatifid
with 2-6 pairs of lateral leaflets and a terminal leaflet. The leaflets
are oblong in shape and pinnatifid with pointed lobes. The upper
surface of each leaf is light to medium gray-green, while the lower
light gray-green; both surfaces are sparsely to moderately covered with
short fine hairs. The lower leaves have short flat petioles, while the
upper leaves are sessile or nearly so. The upper stems terminate in
individual flowerheads about 1½-2" across. Each flowerhead consists of
20-32 yellow ray florets that surround a large dome-like cluster of
golden yellow disk florets. The ray florets are fertile and pistillate
(female); the petaloid (petal-like) extension of each ray floret
terminates in 2-3 blunt teeth. The tiny disk florets are fertile and
perfect; the corolla of each disk floret is narrowly tubular with 5
Around the base of each flowerhead, there are numerous
phyllaries (floral bracts) that are arranged together in a single
series. Individual phyllaries are light green, linear in shape, and
membranous along their upper margins; they are sparsely to moderately
covered with short fine hairs. The peduncles (stalks) of the
flowerheads are relatively long and unbranched; they are similar in
appearance to the stems. The crushed foliage has an aromatic scent. The
blooming period occurs from mid-summer to early fall, lasting about 2
months. The florets are replaced by narrowly oblongoid achenes about 2
mm. in length; these achenes are slightly four-angled and slightly
flattened. At the apex of each achene, there is a short angular crown.
The preference is full or partial sun and mesic to dry conditions.
Different types of soil are tolerated, including those containing loam,
clay-loam, and gravelly material.
introduced Yellow Chamomile rarely escapes from cultivation in
Illinois. So far, naturalized plants have been found in the NE section
state (see Distribution
). It was introduced from Europe into North
America as an ornamental plant. Naturalized habitats include roadsides,
abandoned fields, weedy meadows, and thinly wooded areas that are
relatively open and sunny. Yellow Chamomile is often cultivated in
Because their nectar and pollen is
relatively easy to reach, the
flowerheads attract a wide variety of insects. In Europe,
Müller (1873/1883) observed small bees (Colletes spp.
, Heriades spp.
& Halictus spp.
Ichneumonid wasps, various flies (Syrphidae,
Conopidae, & Muscidae), and beetles (Elateridae &
Mordellidae) visiting the flowers. In North America, records of
floral-fauna interactions for Yellow Chamomile are sparse. Caterpillars
of the moth Orthonama
(The Gem) have been observed to feed on
composites (e.g., Anthemis
) that are similar to Yellow Chamomile
1984/2005). According to Georgia (1913), grazing
animals avoid consumption of Yellow Chamomile. The aromatic foliage is
bitter-tasting and possibly toxic to such animals.
A flower garden in Urbana, Illinois.
Several plants with daisy-like flowers have been introduced into North
America from Europe. Most of these species have flowerheads with white
petal-like rays, although Yellow Chamomile (Cota tinctoria
one of the exceptions. In
Illinois, it has been less likely to escape from cultivation than
(Ox-Eye Daisy), Anthemis
(Dog Fennel), and
some other species in this group.