Matricaria recutita
Common Name: German chamomile
Type: Annual
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Europe, western Asia
Zone: 2 to 8
Height: 1.00 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.75 to 1.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: White rays with yellow center disk
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Leaf: Fragrant

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Performs well in light sandy soils. Tolerates light shade. Tolerates poor soils. Best with regular moisture. Plant seed directly in the garden shortly before last spring frost date (flowers will appear in mid- summer with continued flowering to frost). For earlier flowers, start seed indoors in small pots about 6-8 weeks prior to last spring frost date for planting outside at last frost date. Plants will typically remain in the garden from year to year by self-seeding.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Matricaria recutita, commonly called German chamomile or sweet false chamomile, is an annual aromatic Eurasian herb that is commonly grown in herb gardens for harvest of its flowers which are principally used to make chamomile tea which is a mild sedative herbal drink recommended for a large number of applications including calming nerves, relaxing tense muscles, alleviating stress, dispelling insomnia and treating indigestion. This plant has escaped garden plantings and has naturalized in open areas and along roads in various parts of North America. It typically grows to 12-24" tall and to 12" wide on stems clad with aromatic but bitter tasting double pinnate leaves (to 3" long). Showy daisy-like flowers bloom summer to fall. Each flower features 10-20 petal-like white rays surrounding a showy bright yellow domed center disk of tubular yellow florets. For herbal use, harvest flowers when fully open. Flowers may be used fresh off the plant or dried and stored in airtight containers (freeze if product will not be used soon). German chamomile is used in most commercially marketed packages of chamomile tea rather than Roman chamomile (Chamamaemelum nobile) in large part because the former has a much sweeter and less bitter taste than the latter.

Genus name comes from the medieval name possibly from the Latin word matrix meaning womb because of its one-time medical use.

Specific epithet means circumcised for the ray petals.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Numerous additional uses for this herb beyond tea include (a) culinary (addition to cream cheese, fruit preparations and salads), (b) cosmetic (add to compresses or floral waters), (c) medicinal (add to creams for treatment of minor inflammations, wounds or irritations of mouth or gums), (d) add to potpouris and (e) sachet pouch for bath water.