Weed of the Week: Scentless Chamomile

Scentless chamomile (Matricaria Maritima) is a bright cherry flower that is commonly referred to as ‘wild daisy’ or ‘barnyard daisy.’ This weed was introduced to Canada in the 1930’s. The plant is believed to have been transferred as an ornamental or contaminate of crop seed. While the flower is ideal for summer daisy necklaces, the scentless chamomile has made unwelcome advancements across BC and is considered a provincially noxious weed under the BC Weed Control Act.

This plant is bushy and contains a fibrous root system. The weed can occupy one full square meter. Scentless chamomile grows up to a meter high and exhibits a ring of white petals surrounding a brilliant yellow center that blooms continually. Due to its near identical flower, the oxeye daisy is often mistaken for scentless chamomile. However, the twin-like appearance of the two flowers is not reflected by similar leaves. While oxeye daisy’s leaves are notched and undivided, scentless chamomile displays thread-like, finely divided leaves.

Although scentless chamomile is a poor competitor, it thrives on disturbed sites. Roadsides, drainage ditches, as well as fence lines, hayfields and pastures often attract this noxious weed. In addition, this plant is well adapted to heavy clay soils and germinates well in wet flood zones. This plant threatens wetlands as it conquers creek sides and lush pond banks, blanketing large areas. Significant reduction in crop yields is also a prime concern as the weed spreads throughout.

Seeds of scentless chamomile are dark brown and approximately 2mm. Seeds develop and become viable quite quickly, and also survive long periods of time, including digestion of livestock. The seeds of this weed typically spread by wind, water, and vehicles. Because of the seed’s ability to float, many scentless chamomile plants are found along water bodies.

In order to slow the transfer of this weed, please report infestations of scentless chamomile and ensure that soil and gravel brought to your property are not contaminated. The spread of scentless chamomile can be effectively managed using mechanical, biocontrol, and chemical control methods.

To find out more, click here or phone 1-888-933-3722.

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