The neglected barnyard is odorous with the rank-smelling weeds which seem to gather about man and his farm abodes whenever he does not take the trouble to keep them weedless. The jimson, the poke, the motherwort, the yarrow, tansy, burdock, pigweed, the dog fennel or mayweed - they are all strongly scented, strongly rooted, strongly fixed in the backyards and barnyards of America.
Anthemis cotula L.
June - August Barnyards, waste places.
Among them all, mayweed perhaps is most odorous. Its densely fine-cut, dark green leaves and many-branched stems are violently aromatic, its small daisy-like flowers rank. Contact with leaves, stems, and flowers often cause a severe case of dermatitis in susceptible individuals, and it is shunned by hogs, sheep, and cattle who will not touch it for food. Consequently in the barn lot and the neglected, over-grazed pasture, only the weeds such as mayweed, which are distasteful to animals, remain when all edible herbage is gone. The result is a weed patch of no use to anyone. The hogs and cattle roam through the malodorous plants and look in vain for an edible mouthful.
Mayweed, aside from its rank odor and weediness, is, after all, a cheerful-looking little daisy with a flower bearing the typical flat yellow center and spreading white rays as found in more elegant daisies. It is about a third or half the size of the common ox-eye daisy, and is closely related to it in the Composite family. Like the common daisy (Chrysanthemum leucanthemum), the mayweed is one of the plants which long ago was naturalized from Europe.