Chamomile

©Eric Delcroix

Chamomile

Scientific name: Chamaemelum nobile
Chamomile releases a beautiful, apple-like scent when crushed. For this reason, it was used in Elizabethan times as a plant for lawns and seats! Today, it is scarce in the wild, its grassland habitats under threat.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 30cm

Conservation status

Classified as Vulnerable on the Vascular Plant Red Data List for Great Britain. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.

When to see

June to August

About

Chamomile is often first noticed when crushed under foot as it releases a distinctive, apple-like fragrance. The smell of Chamomile, coupled with its cushion-soft feel, made the plant so popular in Elizabethan times that herb gardens often contained Chamomile lawns and seats. Chamomile flowers from June to August and can be found along coastal cliffs, in grasslands and on commons. Here, livestock keep its natural scrambling form well-clipped, just like in the herb gardens of yesteryear.

How to identify

As a member of the daisy family, Chamomile is a composite flower so has a daisy-like, disc-shaped flower head that consists of lots of tiny flowers in the form of disc florets (the yellow 'centre') and ray florets (the white 'petals'). Its leaves are small, feathery and much-divided.

Distribution

Found in the south of the UK.

Did you know?

Chamomile has been used for many purposes: as a traditional medicine to treat colds; as an anti-inflammatory and calming agent; to make herbal teas and beers; and to help repel unwanted insects.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.