DOGFENNEL





(Anthemis Cotula; Maruta Cotula of Gray) Thistle family



Flower-heads - Like smaller daisies, about 1 in. broad; 10 to 18

white, notched, neutral ray florets around a convex or conical

yellow disk, whose florets are fertile, containing both stamens

and pistil, their tubular corollas 5-cleft. Stem: Smooth, much

branched, 1 to 2 ft. high, leafy, with unpleasant odor and acrid

taste. Leaves: Very finely dissected into slender segments.

Preferred Habitat - Roadsides, dry wasteland, sandy fields.

Flowering Season - June-November.

Distribution - Throughout North America, except in circumpolar

regions.



"Naturalized from Europe, and widely distributed as a weed in

Asia, Africa, and Australasia" (Britton and Brown's "Flora").

Little wonder the camomile encompasses the earth, for it imitates

the triumphant daisy, putting into practice those business

methods of the modern department store, by which the composite

horde have become the most successful strugglers for survival.



The unpleasant odor given forth by this bushy little plant repels

bees and other highly organized insects; not so flies, which, far

from objecting to a fetid smell, are rather attracted by it. They

visit the camomile in such numbers as to be the chief

fertilizers. As the development of bloom proceeds toward the

center, the disk becomes conical, to present the newly opened

florets, where a fly alighting on it must receive pollen, to be

transferred as he crawls and flies to another head. After

fertilization the white rays droop. Dog, used as a prefix by

several of the plant's folk names, implies contempt for its

worthlessness. It is quite another species, the GARDEN CAMOMILE

(A. nobilis) which furnishes the apothecary with those flowers

which, when steeped into a bitter aromatic tea, have been

supposed for generations to make a superior tonic and blood

purifier.



Not so common a plant here, but almost as widespread as the

preceding species, is the similar, but not fetid, CORN or FIELD

CAMOMILE (A. arvensis), a pest to European farmers. Both are

closely related to the garden FEVERFEW, FEATHERFEW, OR PELLITORY

(Chrysanthemum Parthenium), which escapes from cultivation

whenever it can into waste fields and roadsides.





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