An aromatic plant with faintly scented foliage, Anthemis arvensis, the Corn Chamomile bears a mass of small white daisies with yellow centres from June to September. The leaves are finely divided, almost feathery in appearance that, when crushed smell pleasantly of chamomile.
Corn chamomile is a native cornfield annual of light arable land on dry calcareous or sandy soils. Older plant books may describe the corn chamomile as common; in reality it is rapidly becoming a scarce species and it is now absent from much of the north of the country.
This species has declined substantially in the 20th century, and especially since 1960’s. It was fairly resistant to the first phenoxy herbicides but is more susceptible to other, more recently developed, compounds.
Corn Chamomile grows readily from seed sown on most soil types but it has a definite preference for light chalky or sandy soils. It is found mainly on the borders of cereal crops on light calcareous soils and disturbed railway banks.
Corn chamomile are lovely plants for a sunny well-drained border, covered with bright, single daisy-like flowers throughout the main summer season. The disk is flat at first and becomes conical as the rays wilt. The flowers are complemented by attractive ferny grey-green foliage.
Plants will self seed easily, making this an ideal plant for naturalised plantings, wild flower meadows or just a wild part of your garden.
Sowing: Sow in the early spring or in autumn
Corn chamomile seeds can be sown directly where they are to flower at any time from late summer to mid April but the best results are usually obtained from an early spring sowing. Germination 7 to 14 days at 21°C (70°F). It grows readily from seed sown onto preferably, light well drained soils.
Sow directly where they are to flower in a well raked bed ensuring that the soil is fine and crumbly. Scatter the seed, rake lightly and firm down well. Keep well watered and weeded in early stages.
Cornfield annuals including the corn chamomile can be encouraged to return every year. Simply cut back and remove dead plants after the seed has fallen. Seed can remain viable in the soil for several years. Cultivate the ground the following spring. This wildflower thrives in disturbed ground.
Wildlife / Wildflower gardens. Bee & Butterfly garden.
As an archaeophyte, Anthemis arvensis has a European Southern-temperate distribution; it is widely naturalised outside this range. This aromatic annual of light calcareous or sandy soils, has a scattered distribution. It can be found growing in arable fields, especially cereals; also in leys, field-borders and waste places, and on roadsides and disturbed ground near the sea.
(An archaeophyte is a plant species which is non-native to a geographical region, but which was an introduced species in "ancient" times, rather than being a modern introduction. Those arriving after are called neophytes.
In Britain, archaeophytes are considered to be those species first introduced prior to 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived in the New World and the Columbian Exchange began.)
The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland consider Anthemis arvensis to be extinct within Ireland.
The genus name Anthemis is taken from the Greek anthemon, meaning 'flower,' for their profuse blooming,
The species name arvensis means ‘of the fields’.
The common name of Corn chamomile derives, via French and Latin, from the Greek chamaimēlon meaning 'earth-apple' - chamai meaning 'on the ground' and mēlon meaning 'apple', for their applelike scent.
Usually found in cornfields, the word corn was locally understood to denote the leading crop of a district. It meant 'grain with the seed still in' (e.g. barleycorn) rather than a particular plant. Usually wheat in England, oats in Scotland and Ireland, while 'korn' refers to rye in parts of Germany.
The word was restricted to corn on the cob in America (c.1600, originally Indian corn, but the adjective was dropped), Cornflakes first recorded 1907. Corned beef so called for the 'corns' or grains of salt with which it is preserved; from verb corn 'to salt' (1560s).
There are five flowers that are associated with cornfields, there names all attain to their fondness for arable fields:
- Corn Poppy - Papaver rhoeas – Red
- Cornflower - Centaurea cyanus - Blue
- Corn Chamomile - Anthemis arvensis - White
- Corncockle - Agrostemma githago - Mauve
- Corn Marigold - Chrysanthemum segetum – Yellow.
- Additional Information
Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 4,000 seeds per gram. Family Asteraceae Genus Anthemis Species arvensis Cultivar Wildflower of Britain and Ireland Synonym Anthemis austriaca Common Name Field Chamomile
Wildflower of Britain and Ireland
Other Language Names Ire. Fíogadán goirt Hardiness Hardy Annual Flowers White and yellow flowers Natural Flower Time April to September Height 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) Spread 25 to 30cm (10 to 12in) Position Full sun or partial shade Soil Dry, Moist, Sandy Time to Sow Sow in the early spring or in autumn Germination 7 to 14 days at 21°C (70°F)