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Maids Tanacetum parthenium

Previously known as:

  • Chrysanthemum parthenium
  • Matricaria parthenium
Phonetic Spelling
tan-ah-SAY-tum par-THEN-ee-um
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Feverfew is a mounding aromatic herbaceous perennial. The flowers are clusters of white florets with a central yellow disc. They make wonderful cut flowers since the flowerheads are long-lasting. They may also be dried and used in dried floral arrangements. They bloom from June to September. They grow in clumping mounds, erect, and about 1-3 feet tall and 1-2 feet wide. This species is self-seeding and may become aggressive in optimum conditions. Feverfew is a member of the Asteraceae or Aster family. Other common names include Bachelor's Buttons, Maids, Manzanilla, and Wild Chamomile. There are several cultivars.

The plant is native to southeastern Europe, Central Asia, and West Himalayas. Feverfew has been used in the treatment of toothaches, arthritis, headaches, and fever. It was a common folk remedy in Europe for over 2000 years. It has been called the "Medieval Aspirin." The dried leaves of the Feverfew were also used as an insect repellant.

The genus name, Tanacetum, is derived from the Greek word, "Athanasia," which means "immortal." The species name, parthenium, is about the Greek Parthenon. Reportedly, this plant was used medicinally in the 5th century to treat a construction worker who fell while working on the Parthenon. 

Feverfew prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained, moist soils. They are tolerant of all pH levels and will grow in sandy, loamy, or high organic matter.  It is best to deadhead or shear off spent blooms immediately to control self-seeding.

The leaves are green, fern-like, and have a strong scent. Depending on the cultivar, the flowers are daisy-like to rounded balls and are arranged in corymbs. The outer petal rays are white to creamy colored with a button-like yellow center.

Feverfew attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees. They are drought tolerant and deer resistant.

The plant may be used in naturalized areas, meadows, cutting gardens, cottage gardens, or rock gardens.  Consider Feverfew for a patio area or as a container plant. In the past, the English planted Feverfew around their home for the spicy scent and to purify the air.   

Quick ID Hints:

  • The foliage is green, feathery, fern-like, and pinnately lobed with hairy undersides
  • The flowers are open daisy-like to rounded balls, white to creamy colored petals with a yellow center disc
  • The stems are erect, branched, pubescent distally, and glabrous proximally

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:

There are no serious diseases or pest problems. Please monitor for spider mites. They are intolerant to the hot and humid climate of the southern United States.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aureum'
    Golden leaves, white flower, 12 inches tall
  • 'Crown White'
    Pure white, minute buttons, 28 inches tall
  • 'Golden Ball'
    Double creamy yellow bloom, 12-18 inches tall
  • 'Rowallane'
    Pure white, button shaped, 14 inches tall
  • 'Ultra Double White'
    Double white flower, cut flower popular with florist, 24 inches tall
  • 'White Bonnet'
    White blooms, 18 inches tall
'Aureum', 'Crown White', 'Golden Ball', 'Rowallane', 'Ultra Double White', 'White Bonnet'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#drought tolerant#weedy#aromatic#cottage garden#summer flowers#deer resistant#edible landscaping#naturalizes#rock garden#border planting#self-seeding#cutting garden#edible garden#patio planting#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#contact dermatitis#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Aureum'
    Golden leaves, white flower, 12 inches tall
  • 'Crown White'
    Pure white, minute buttons, 28 inches tall
  • 'Golden Ball'
    Double creamy yellow bloom, 12-18 inches tall
  • 'Rowallane'
    Pure white, button shaped, 14 inches tall
  • 'Ultra Double White'
    Double white flower, cut flower popular with florist, 24 inches tall
  • 'White Bonnet'
    White blooms, 18 inches tall
'Aureum', 'Crown White', 'Golden Ball', 'Rowallane', 'Ultra Double White', 'White Bonnet'
Tags:
#hummingbirds#drought tolerant#weedy#aromatic#cottage garden#summer flowers#deer resistant#edible landscaping#naturalizes#rock garden#border planting#self-seeding#cutting garden#edible garden#patio planting#butterfly friendly#problem for cats#problem for dogs#bee friendly#problem for horses#contact dermatitis#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Tanacetum
    Species:
    parthenium
    Family:
    Asteraceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Feverfew has been a folk remedy for 2000 years. The name, Feverfew, originated from the Romans using the plant to reduce fevers. It also had been used to make medicines to control headaches, intestinal problems, and uterine cramps.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern Europe to Central Asia and West Himalaya
    Distribution:
    Native: Afghanistan, Albania, Bulgaria, East Aegean Island, Greece, Iran, Iraq, Krym, North Caucasus, Pakistan, Transcaucasus, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, West Himalaya, and Yugoslavia; Introduced: Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Azores, Baleares, Baltic States, Belarus, Belgium, Bolivia, Borneo, Brazil, British Columbia, Chile, China, Colombia, Corse, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Russia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Mongolia, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malay, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Ontario, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philipines, Poland, Portugal, Queensland, Romania, South Australia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Tasmania, Tibet, Uruguay, Venezuela, Victoria, Western Australia, and US: AL, CT, DE, ID, IL, IN, KY, ME, MD, MA, MI, MS, MO, MT, NV, NH, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, and WY
    Wildlife Value:
    Feverfew attracts butterflies, hummingbirds, and bees.
    Play Value:
    Attractive Flowers
    Attracts Pollinators
    Edibility:
    Edible leaves can make tea.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 1 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Perennial
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Mounding
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Available Space To Plant:
    Less than 12 inches
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    5b, 5a, 6b, 6a, 7b, 7a, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The center disk of the flower becomes a head of dry, brown seeds. The seeds are ribbed and measure 1-2 mm long. The plant is self-seeding and can be aggressive.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers are small, daisy-like. They measure 3/4 inches in diameter. There are 10-30 petals that have 3 small teeth at the tip. The petals are white, and the center disks are yellow and button-like. The flowers are arranged in corymbs. Depending on the cultivar, the flower may be an open daisy or rounded ball.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Soft
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cuneate
    Oblong
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Dentate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves are green and mostly cauline. They measure 1.5 to greater than 4 inches long and 0.5 to 2.5 inches wide. They are fern-like and have a strong scent. The margins are toothed. The base of the leaf is cuneate. The leaf blade is ovate with the widest area below the middle of the leaf and tapering at both ends. The undersides of the leaf are slightly hairy. The leaves lowest on the stem are the largest.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems are green, erect, and branched. The flowering stem is pubescent distally and glabrous proximally. The cross-section of the stem is circular.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Patio
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Cutting Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Mass Planting
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Hummingbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Problem for Cats
    Problem for Dogs
    Problem for Horses
    Weedy
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Airborne dermatitis have been occasionally reported.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Parthenin
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes