COMPOSITE FAMILY - Compositae: Dog's or Foetid Camomile: Mayweed; Pig-sty Daisy; Dillweed; Dog-fennel
Anthemis Cotula (Maruta Cotula)
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 waste land, sandy fields.
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.
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.