We have recently published ‘Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions’: i.e. tropical and sub-tropical regions. We rely on regular donations to keep our free database going and help fund development of this and another book we are planning on food forest plants for Mediterranean climates. Please give what you can to keep PFAF properly funded. More >>>

Follow Us:


Tanacetum parthenium - (L.)Sch.Bip.

Common Name Feverfew, Matricaria
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 5-8
Known Hazards Do not use during pregnancy or with coagulation problems. Oral ulcers (aphothous ulcers in 5-15%) and/or gastrointestinal disturbances. Discontinuation may lead to rebound headaches, anxiety and insomnia [301].
Habitats Mountain scrub, rocky slopes, walls, waste places and a weed of gardens, avoiding acid soils[9].
Range S.E. Europe to Asia. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew, Matricaria

Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew, Matricaria


Translate this page:


Bloom Color: White, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Rounded.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Tanacetum parthenium is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Aphanostephus pinulensis. Chrysanthemum parthenium. Matricaria parthenium. Parthenium matricaria.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. In. South Wall. In. West Wall. In.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

The dried flowers are used as a flavouring in cooking certain pastries[177, 183]. The plant is used in cooking to impart a deliciously aromatic bitter taste to certain foods[7]. A tea is made from the dried flowers[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiecchymotic  Antiinflammatory  Antirheumatic  Antispasmodic  Aperient  Bitter  Carminative  Emmenagogue  
Sedative  Stimulant  Stings  Stomachic  Vasodilator  Vermifuge

Feverfew has gained a good reputation as a medicinal herb and extensive research since 1970 has proved it to be of special benefit in the treatment of certain types of migraine headaches and rheumatism[238, K]. It is also thought of as a herb for treating arthritis and rheumatism[254]. The leaves and flowering heads are anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aperient, bitter, carminative, emmenagogue, sedative, stimulant, stings, stomachic, vasodilator and vermifuge[4, 7, 21, 36, 46, 53, 100, 165]. The plant is gathered as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[7]. Use with caution[165], the fresh leaves can cause dermatitis and mouth ulcers if consumed[238]. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. A tea made from the whole plant is used in the treatment of arthritis, colds, fevers etc. It is said to be sedative and to regulate menses[222, 238]. An infusion is used to bathe swollen feet[257]. Applied externally as a tincture, the plant is used in the treatment of bruises etc[7]. Chewing 1 - 4 leaves per day has proven to be effective in the treatment of some migraine headaches[222].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

The Bookshop: Edible Plant Books

Our Latest books on Perennial Plants For Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens in paperback or digital formats.

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Tropical Plants

Food Forest Plants for Hotter Conditions: 250+ Plants For Tropical Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.
Edible Temperate Plants

Plants for Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests & Permaculture Gardens.

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital media.
More Books

PFAF have eight books available in paperback and digital formats. Browse the shop for more information.

Shop Now

Other Uses

Essential  Repellent

The dried flower buds are a source of an insecticide. They are said to have the same properties as pyrethrum (obtained mainly from T. cinerariifolia)[61, 100, 201]. Steep 1 cupful of the dried flowers in one litre of hot soapy water for an hour. Strain, then allow to cool slightly before use[201]. An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery[7].

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Massing, Rock garden. A very easily grown plant, it succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1]. Thrives in any kind of soil[7], plants can even be grown in walls[219]. Often grown in the flower garden, feverfew is a short lived perennial but usually self-sows prolifically[7, K]. There are many named varieties selected for their ornamental value[238]. The cultivar 'Golden' (syn 'Yellow') has yellow tinted leaves[183]. The leaves have a refreshing aromatic aroma[245]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Attracts butterflies, Suitable for cut flowers, Suitable for dried flowers. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is branching: a heart root, dividing from the crown into several primary roots going down and out [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:



The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

Shop Now

Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Only just cover the seed and do not allow the pot to dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ during the spring. Plants usually self-sow freely and so, once you have the plant, further sowing is usually unnecessary[K]. Division in spring. Since the plants are quite short-lived, this method is not really very serviceable[K].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Feverfew, Matricaria

Native Plant Search

Search over 900 plants ideal for food forests and permaculture gardens. Filter to search native plants to your area. The plants selected are the plants in our book 'Plants For Your Food Forest: 500 Plants for Temperate Food Forests and Permaculture Gardens, as well as plants chosen for our forthcoming related books for Tropical/Hot Wet Climates and Mediterranean/Hot Dry Climates. Native Plant Search

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Tanacetum balsamitaAlecost, CostmaryPerennial0.9 5-9  LMHSNDM321
Tanacetum cinerariifoliumDalmation Pellitory, PyrethrumPerennial0.5 5-9  LMHNDM014
Tanacetum coccineumPyrethrum, Pyrethum daisy, Persian Insect Flower, Painted DaisyPerennial0.6 4-10 MLMHSNM003
Tanacetum vulgareTansy, Common tansy, Golden Buttons, Curly Leaf TansyPerennial1.0 3-9 FLMHNDM224

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


Expert comment



Botanical References


Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

TAS   Wed Jul 12 2006

I've been dealing with an extremely odd type of headaches for over a year now. I've been to neurologists, had blood work done, see chiropractors; basically done everything and taken everything shy of seeing a witch doctor. The depressing thing is that nothing seems to have any effect on lessing or removing my headaches. Does anyone have any information on how useful this flower may/may not be in helping with this?

S   Tue Jul 18 2006

I suffered headaches on a daily basis for over 15 years. Had every test, tried every drug you could buy - noting worked. I tried Feverfew tables (standardised to contain 0.2% parthenolide)and they worked immediately. Now I hardly get any headaches at all, and have just started growing my own plants from seed. Worth their weight in gold.

Uruka   Sat Dec 22 2007

The reason this plant relieves headaches is because it is one of the few plants, such as St. John's Wort, that produce melatonin. This counteracts a depressing situation we face in industrialized society, the fluoridation of the water supply. There is comprehensive evidence that fluoride damages the pineal gland, which produces melatonin, regulates our sleep, our moods, and produce dimethyltriptamine while we sleep. This plant may indeed counteract the damage that is being done to the pineal gland.

yussuf mgumia manzi   Tue Aug 14 2007

will you please provide feverfew in swahili language

ams   Sat Sep 8 2007

I have has migraines for years, in fact all five members of out family has them. We grow and use feverfew and it is nothing short of a miracle. It tastes horrible, so my husband jams the leaves into gelatin capsules.

   Wed Sep 19 2007

the plant now grows like a weed in my garden, looks great in the summer when flowering and i share the crop of dried flowers with family and friends to be used as a cure for headaches and joint pain. it also helps repel the giant scottish midge.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at [email protected]. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Tanacetum parthenium  
© 2010, Plants For A Future. Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567.