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Matricaria recutita - L.

Common Name German Camomile
Family Asteraceae or Compositae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Allergic reactions (tongue thickening, tightness in the throat,swelling of the lips, throat and eyes, itching over the body) have been reported with German chamomile but are infrequent. Patients with severe allergic responses to ragweed (ragwort) should be warned about the possible cross-sensitivity to chamomile and other members of the Asteraceae/Compositae family (e.g. echinacea, feverfew, milk thistle).
Habitats Sandy or loamy arable soils in Britain[13, 17]. Also found on saline steppes in Europe[50].
Range Europe, including Britain, east to W. Asia and the Himalayas.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (4 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (5 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Matricaria recutita German Camomile

Matricaria recutita German Camomile


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UPDATE 23/2/12: Matricaria recutita L. is a synonym of Matricaria chamomilla L.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Matricaria recutita is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 6 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Matricaria chamomilla. Auct. Chamomilla recutita. (L.)Rauschert.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts:
Edible Uses: Condiment  Tea

The young sprigs are used as a seasoning[15]. The dried flowers are used to make herb teas[21, 37]. It is aromatic but with a very bitter flavour[4].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

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Anodyne  Antiinflammatory  Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Carminative  Cholagogue  Diaphoretic  Homeopathy  
Nervine  Stomachic  Tonic  Vasodilator

German camomile is a well known herbal remedy and is much used in the West. In particular it is an excellent herb for treating various digestive disorders, nervous tension and irritability and is also used externally to treat skin problems[254]. An infusion of the flowers is taken internally as an anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, stomachic, tonic and vasodilator[7, 218, 238]. An infusion is particularly useful as a stomachic, nervine and sedative for young children, especially when they are teething[238]. It is also used in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, peptic ulcers and hiatus hernia[254]. In large doses, or when taken regularly for several times each day, the tea can be emetic[218] and can also cause the symptoms it is intended to cure[232]. The flowers are also used externally to treat wounds, sunburn, burns, haemorrhoids, mastitis and leg ulcers[238]. The flowers are harvested when fully open and are dried for later use[254]. The flowers contain various volatile oils including proazulenes[254]. Upon steam distillation these proazulenes produce chamazulene, this is remarkably anti-allergenic and is useful in the treatment of asthma and hay fever[254]. The flowers are sometimes added to cosmetics as an anti-allergenic agent[238]. The whole plant, harvested when in flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is especially suited to teething children and those who have been in a highly emotional state over a long period of time[232]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Camomile for coughs and bronchitis, fevers and colds, inflammations of the skin, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, tendency to infection - improve immunity, wounds and burns (see [302] for critics of commission E).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dye  Essential  Hair  Liquid feed  Repellent  Strewing

An infusion of the flowers is used as a hair shampoo, especially for fair hair[14, 20, 168]. It is also used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic, effective against a number of plant diseases[14, 18, 20]. The flowers are also an ingredient of 'Quick Return' herbal compost activator[32]. The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb[4, 168]. The whole plant is insect repellent[14, 20]. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery[46]. Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers[168].

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. It prefers neutral to slightly acid conditions and succeeds in poor soils[238]. It usually self-sows freely when well-sited[K]. Chamomile has a long history as a gentle and effective folk medicine for a wide variety of disorders, being especially effective and safe for children[K]. There is some confusion between this plant and Chamaemelum nobile as to which is the genuine camomile. This species is said to be more bitter and inferior to Chamaemelum nobile in some reports[200] and to be more active medicinally in other reports[9, 238]. Both have similar properties and can probably be used interchangeably[K]. The whole plant has a pungent aroma[245].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ[238]. Germination should take place within 3 weeks.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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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 :

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Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Matricaria matricarioidesPineapple WeedAnnual0.3 5-9  LMHNDM121
Tanacetum partheniumFeverfew, MatricariaPerennial0.6 5-8 MLMHNDM252

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.


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Botanical References


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Readers comment

denise hall   Wed Jul 18 2007

do you supply dried camomile flower heads for the pupose of well dressing in the High Peak area of derbyshire. We are looking for a supplier as we have use all our if o pleas e mail me , can you also send a small sample and a price bearing in mid that we ca us out of date head as the are to for human consumption and we try to run on a tight buget. thanking you

nadine   Tue Feb 3 2009

is this plant a coke substatuite

   Apr 26 2011 12:00AM

There are two types of Chamomile, German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), but if you´re looking for the best one go for Matricaria. Additionally it contains apigenin, a well known tumour suppressor.

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Subject : Matricaria recutita  
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