Scientific Names: Tanacetum parthenium syn. Chrysanthemum parthenium, Leucanthemum parthenium
Other names: Altamisa, Amargosa, Bachelor's Button, Flirtwort, Manzanilla, Featherfew, Featherfoil, Wild Chamomile
Feverfew is a perennial in the Daisy family which is native to south-eastern Europe and Asia. Due to its use as a medicinal herb and some culinary use for flavouring, it has been taken to most parts of the world where it is now naturalised. It is a prolific seeder and once introduced it is forever with us - popping up when the ground is cultivated.
It grows at first as a single stem, but in subsequent years becomes multi-stemmed. The lower leaves have lobed segments, are hairless and have a strong smell.
The composite, daisy-like flowers with yellow centres and white petals, appear from June to August and make a great show on a mature plant, but should be removed as they fade, to prevent seeding.
It forms a fibrous rootball, remaining as a clump and does not spread vegetatively.
The whole plant has medicinal uses and can be dried for later use when the first flowers appear. The leaves can be picked fresh and taken to relieve migraine headaches, and if taken regularly it can protect against further attacks. It has anti-inflammatory properties so shows a benefit with rheumatism and arthritis.
Dried parts of the plant are also used as a flavouring in food giving a bitter, aromatic taste.
There is a stimulant effect on the womb so it should not be taken during pregnancy; also the fresh leaves can cause mouth ulcers. It has an effect on blood platelets, affecting clumping, so should be avoided if taking anticoagulants.
The plants can be easily uprooted at any time, but it is best before flowering to prevent seeding. A systemic herbicide such as Glyphosate will work.
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