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Chamomile

 Common name: Chamomile

Scientific name: Chamaemelum nobile

Family: Compositae

Uses: Aromatic, cosmetic, culinary, decorative, and medicinal.Dried leaves and flowers are used to scent potpourris. Chamomile also is used for soothing baths and skin lotions. It adds golden highlights to blonde hair. Fresh flower heads can decorate and flavor fresh salads. Dried leaves are used in tea and mixed with half mineral water for a refreshing beverage. The plant also can be used to make dye (buff, yellow, or gold). Lawns can be created using the low-growing English variety (Chamaemelum nobile), which reaches about 12 inches in height and creeps until it flowers. The taller German variety (Matricaria chamomile) reaches 1 to 2 feet in height and can be used for accent in beds or gardens. The plant is said to have some medicinal qualities.

History: The name chamomile is derived from a Greek word meaning

Description: This low-growing plant has flowers that are similar to daisies, but smaller. The solid, solitary central disk is deep yellow, and the rays are silver white to cream. The flowers appear at the end of downy stems, often in pairs. The leaves are alternate and divided into threadlike segments covered with feathery fuzz. The fruit is an achene.

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness: Hardiness zones 3 to 4.

Height: 9 inches

Width: varies, spreads quickly

Light:

Soil: light, dry soil with a pH of 7

Pests:

Disease: None noted.The tiny seeds should be planted in small containers. Transplant seedlings 6 inches apart when big enough to handle. Keep them moist until they are established. For a lawn of English chamomile, plant the herb and keep it well watered until it is established. As the plantlets begin to creep, top-dress lightly with fertilizer to encourage spreading and matting.

Cultivation: The tiny seeds should be planted in small containers. Transplant seedlings 6 inches apart when big enough to handle. Keep them moist until they are established. For a lawn of English chamomile, plant the herb and keep it well watered until it is established. As the plantlets begin to creep, top-dress lightly with fertilizer to encourage spreading and matting.

Companion planting: Grow chamomile near onions, cabbages, and wheat. It is said to repel flying insects and increase crop yield. It is grown with peppermint plants to intensify the oil of the peppermint.

Propagation: Division, seeds, or cuttings.

Flowering period: June to August

Flower color:

Harvesting:

Garden notes: The fragrant daisylike flowers add beauty to this low ground cover. Once our plants bloomed, they continued to do so for the rest of the growing season, providing much interest. They were especially nice at the edge of the garden.