This section is from the book "Wayside And Woodland Blossoms", by Edward Step. Also available from Amazon: Wayside And Woodland Blossoms: A Guide To British Wild-Flowers.
We have already described several species of Compositae, and now return to that order to describe a type of flower very similar in general appearance to the Daisy (page 1). The Corn Chamomile is an annual plant; the lower portion of its stem is prostrate, sending up erect branches with alternate, prettily cut leaves, twice pinnate. The flower-heads are borne singly on long stalks, and the floral envelope (involucre) consists of a number of over-lapping scales (bracts), whose margins are dry and chaffy. The base (receptacle) upon which the florets are packed is convex and covered with little chaffy scales, which stand up between the florets. The disc-florets contain both anthers and pistil; the ray-florets are pistillate only. The whole plant is downy. It occurs in fields and waste places, flowering from May to August. Though somewhat widely distributed, it is a local plant. The name is an old Greek name for the Chamomile, from anthemon, a flower, probably owing to the profusion of its blossoms.
The other British species of the genus are two only:
I. The Stinking May Weed (A. cotula). Ray-florets usually without pistils. The plant is smooth or hairy, not downy, but the leaves are quite smooth, and covered with minute glands, which secrete a foetid-smelling and acrid juice, causing swelling of the hands in persons clearing fields of this weed. The flower-stalks are more slender than in arvensis, and the involucral bracts are narrower at their tips. Fields, wastes and roadsides; very common in South of England, rare in the North. Flowers June to September.
II. The Chamomile (A. nobilis.) Perennial. Branches spreading from the root, leafy and furrowed, hollow. Leaves woolly, aromatic. Flower-stalk long and slender; involucre downy and chaffy. The ray-florets are sometimes wanting. In great favour as a remedy for indigestion. Gravelly pastures and dry wastes in England and Ireland. Rare. It is not a native of Scotland. Flowers July to September.