Chamaemelum nobile | ‘Chamomile’, ‘Roman Chamomile’ | ~500 seeds
Native to large parts of Western Europe, Chamaemelum nobile is a useful perennial of the family Asteraceae and is most often called ‘Chamomile’. Along with Matricaria chamomilla, it’s the common source of herbal ‘Chamomile’ for culinary and herbal use.
Here’s another species which has proven so popular as to require a full paragraph listing its aliases! Nobile is (or has been) synonymous with Anacyclus aureus, Anthemis aurea, Anthemis nobilis and Chamomilla nobilis. Common names for this useful species include: ‘Anthémis Odorante’, ‘Anthémis‘, ‘Babuna Ke Phool’, ‘Camomile’, ‘Camomille d’Anjou’, ‘Camomille Noble’, ‘Camomille Romaine’, ‘Chamomile’, ‘Chamomile Lawn’, ‘Chamomilla’, ‘Chamomillae Ramane Flos’, ‘English Chamomile’, ‘Fleur de Camomille Romaine’, ‘Flores Anthemidis’, ‘Garden Chamomile’, ‘Grosse Kamille’, ‘Ground Apple’, ‘Low Chamomile’, ‘Manzanilla Romana’, ‘Manzanilla’, ‘Mother’s Daisy’, ‘Ormenis Nobilis’, ‘Roman Chamomile’, ‘Romische Kamille’, ‘Sweet Chamomile’ and ‘Whig Plant’.
Growing to roughly thirty or forty centimetres tall by the same across, Chamaemelum nobile produces an aromatic mat of attractively glossy, silver-green and fern-like foliage all year through. Gorgeous, white-whitish flowers are solitary, blooming between late spring and early autumn and looking very much similar to giant daisies. These sweet-smelling blooms are hermaphroditic and self-fertile, producing pollen which can cause allergic reactions in some unfortunate folks (especially those with a known allergy to ‘Echinacea’, ‘Feverfew’, ‘Milk Thistle’, ‘Ragweed’ / ‘Ragwort’, etc.).
Really a rather popular plant when it comes to folk medicine (the plant has been used in Europe since around the 16th Century), ‘Chamomile’ has been used to treat ailments including colds and fevers, coughs and bronchitis, earache, headache, inflammation, neuralgia, stomach and gastrointestinal problems, stress and nervous disorders and toothache. Reportedly, oral consumption of this plant and its products can induce uterine contractions and miscarriage in pregnant women. Large quantities may damage the lining of the stomach and bowels too!
The plant and its products are also used to make herbal teas and as a flavour for foodstuffs, as well as in various cosmetic and perfume products. ‘Chamomile’ is also considered by aromatherapy practitioners to have a calmative, soothing effect. Horticulturally, nobile is grown ornamentally (in herb gardens and borders and as a lawn plant), as a companion plant (particularly alongside cabbages and onions), and as a source of fungicide and insect repellent, liquid plant fertiliser and compost activator. It’s also valuable for the golden-yellow dye which can be produced from its flowers.
Occurring across Argentina, Europe, North Africa, North America and elsewhere in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9, Chamaemelum nobile usually prefers to grow in habitats such as grassy fields, gardens and roadsides. It’s quite prolific once established, hence is sometimes considered to be an invasive species. Contributing factors include that the species is able to grow in nutritionally poor and/or highly alkaline soils, is hardy to approximately -15°C and, once established, is quite drought-tolerant too.
Chamaemelum nobile is an extremely easy species to grow from seed, although may also be propagated via rootball division. Plant in a well-drained, sandy, loamy or clay soil (mildly acidic to mildly alkaline should be fine), spacing young plants at least twenty centimetres apart so that they have ample room to grow. Situate somewhere in full sun to partial shade, watering as the top few centimetres of soil becomes completely dry to the touch.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced