Tanacetum parthenium
Common Name: feverfew 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Southwestern Asia, southeastern Europe
Zone: 5 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to September
Bloom Description: White
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Drought


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, humusy soils with good drainage. Soils must not be allowed to dry out. Plants are usually short-lived, but will usually remain in the garden through self-seeding which can be quite aggressive in optimum growing conditions. Shear off spent flowers immediately after bloom in order to control any unwanted self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tanacetum parthenium, commonly known as feverfew, is a weedy, bushy, aromatic, herbaceous perennial that is originally native to the Balkans and Caucasus, but has been introduced, escaped gardens and naturalized over time throughout the remaining parts of Europe and much of North America including both southern Canada and the U.S. except for the Great Plains states and Arizona to Florida. This is a mounded, clump-forming species that typically grows to 1-3’ tall and features a lengthy summer bloom (June-September) of small, 3/4”, daisy-like flowers with white petals and button-like yellow center disks. Flowers are arranged in dense corymbs. Pinnately lobed leaves (to 2-3” long) are deeply cut or parted nearly to the midrib. Leaves are strongly scented, toothed and slightly hairy below.

Chrysanthemum parthenium and Matricaria parthenium are synonyms.

Species plants have been used in the past in the treatment of a variety of medical problems including toothache, arthritis, headaches and, of course, fever.

Genus name reportedly is derived from an altered form of the Greek word athanatos meaning long-lasting or immortal in reference to the long-lasting flowers and/or the everlasting qualities of the dried flowers of some species (in particular Tanacetum vulgare).

Specific epithet is purportedly in reference to the medical use of the plant to save a worker who fell from the Parthenon during its construction in the 5th century.


No serious insect or disease problems. Spider mites can be a problem in some areas. This plant tends to burn out in hot and humid summers, particularly in the deep South.


Naturalized areas or cottage gardens where it can be allowed to freely self-seed. May be used in border fronts or rock gardens as long as spent flowers are promptly deadheaded. Edger or bedding plant.