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Revision as of 15:53, 25 June 2012


Edible uses


Young sprigs are used as a seasoning and a flavouring in herb beers[1][2]. The fresh or dried flowers are used to make herb teas[3][4][2]. This has a strong aromatic odour and a bitter flavour, especially the single-flowered form[5]. The whole herb is used for making herbal beers[5].

Unknown part

Material uses

An infusion of the flowers is used as a hair shampoo, especially for fair hair[6][7][8]. It is also used as a liquid feed and general plant tonic[6], effective against a number of plant diseases[9][7][10]. It has fungicidal properties and its use is said to prevent damping off in seedlings[11]. The flowers are an ingredient of 'QR' herbal compost activator[12]. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost[K]. The whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb[5][8]. The whole plant is insect repellent both when growing and when dried[6][7]. An essential oil from the whole plant is used as a flavouring and in perfumery[13]. Yellow to gold dyes are obtained from the flowers[8]. The plant makes a very good ground cover[14] and can also be used as an edging plant[15]. It does tend to become bare in patches[16].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Camomile is a common herb with a long history of safe and effective medicinal use - it is widely used as a household herbal remedy. It is particularly useful as a remedy for various problems of the digestive system, as a sedative and a nervine, it is especially suited for young children[5][7][3]. A tea is made from the flowers and this should be prepared in a closed vessel to prevent loss of the essential oils[5]. The flowers are anodyne, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, nervine, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator[5][6][3][4][17][10]. The single-flowered form is the most potent medicinally, though it can in large doses damage the lining of the stomach and bowels[5]. For this reason, the double-flowered form is usually preferred since this contains less of the alkaloid that causes the problem[5]. The flowers are gathered in the summer when they are fully open and are distilled for their oil or dried for later use[11]. They should not be stored for longer than 12 months[11]. The whole herb is used to make a lotion for external application in the treatment of toothache, earache, neuralgia etc[5]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Soothing'[18].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - sow March in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed and do not let the compost dry out. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 5cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Chamaemelum nobile. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Tolerates most well-drained soils, preferring a dry sandy soil and a sunny position[5][4][15]. Tolerates partial shade[19]. Established plants are drought tolerant[20]. Can be grown in grass[21]. Tolerates a pH in the range 6.8 to 8. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[15]. They often deteriorate in very wet or cold winters, but usually recover quickly in the spring and early summer[11]. Chamomile is commonly grown in the domestic herb garden, it is also cultivated commercially for its flowers which are used in herb teas and medicinally. The double-flowered form is highly regarded for its medicinal virtues[17]. Plants can be invasive when growing in good conditions[22], though they are easy to control[K]. There is some confusion between this plant (which is a perennial) and the annual chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) as to which is the genuine medicinal chamomile. Some reports say that this plant is the most effective herbally[5], whilst others says that Matricaria is more potent[23]. Both plants seem to have very similar properties and either can probably be used quite successfully. Camomile is a very good companion plant, promoting the health of plants it is growing close to, it is especially good for growing near cabbages, onions and, in small quantities, wheat[5][6][7][21][10][11]. The cultivar 'Treneague' is a low-growing non-flowering form that makes an excellent ground cover[14]. Fairly tolerant of being walked on, it is sometimes used instead of grass for making a lawn though it is more difficult to maintain and can become weed infested, especially in its early stages[15]. It also tends to become bare in places[16]. The whole plant has a pungent aroma, this being especially noticeable on hot days or when the plant is bruised.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Chamaemelum nobile. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Chamaemelum nobile.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Chamaemelum nobile
Imported References
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type


  1. ? 1.01.1 Bryan. J. and Castle. C. Edible Ornamental Garden. Pitman Publishing ISBN 0-273-00098-5 (1976-00-00)
  2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  3. ? Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
  4. ? Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant. Blackie and Son. (1878-00-00)
  5. ? Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
  6. ? Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
  7. ? Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening. Garden Way, Vermont, USA. ISBN 0-88266-064-0 (1978-00-00)
  8. ? Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
  9. ? 9.09.1 Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants. Watkins (1979-00-00)
  10. ? Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting. Cassell Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-304-34324-2 (1993-00-00)
  11. ? Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
  12. ? 12.012.1 Bruce. M. E. Commonsense Compost Making. Faber ISBN 0-571-09990-4 (1977-00-00)
  13. ? 13.013.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
  14. ? Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
  15. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  16. ? Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
  17. ? Mills. S. Y. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. ()
  18. ? 18.018.1 Westwood. C. Aromatherapy - A guide for home use. Amberwood Publishing Ltd ISBN 0-9517723-0-9 (1993-00-00)
  19. ? Simons. New Vegetable Growers Handbook. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-050-0 (1977-00-00)
  20. ? Chatto. B. The Dry Garden. Dent ISBN 0460045512 (1982-00-00)
  21. ? 21.021.1 Hatfield. A. W. How to Enjoy your Weeds. Frederick Muller Ltd ISBN 0-584-10141-4 (1977-00-00)
  22. ? Brickell. C. The RHS Gardener's Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd. ISBN 0-86318-386-7 (1990-00-00)
  23. ? Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
  24. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)