The genus of the canine chamomile, Latin anthemis, occurs with a total of around 100 species mainly in Central and Southern Europe. Depending on the species, their distribution areas range from northern Europe to especially south-eastern areas such as Greece, Turkey, Israel and northern Africa.
- Dog chamomile - highly poisonous or hardly poisonous?
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Here in Germany, the frugal perennial prefers stony ruderal areas, waysides, dams and dry meadows. So it is adapted to not really luxurious habitats, which is also reflected in its very insensitive character. As a result, it does not need a lot of attention in garden culture and can also provide less experienced garden owners with an attractive flower bouquet.
Chamomiles grow either as annual, herbaceous plants or as perennials with slight lignification. Depending on the species, they reach about 20 to 50 centimeters in height. Their habitus is characterized by the large, textured leaves on the stems and the cup flowers typical of the daisy family.
The leaves of the canine chamomile alternate on the multi-branching, hairy stems and have a double pinnate shape. The elongated, linear-lanceolate single leaflets on the leaflets have a finely serrated edge. Most of the foliage is greyish-medium green in color.
As a daisy family, the dog chamomile also has the characteristic, cup-shaped inflorescences about 2½ to 4 centimeters in diameter. They stand individually at the ends of the stems and have a hemispherical, sometimes slightly raised head. The wreath of petals is multilayered, the individual leaflets are skin-edged, blunt and about half a centimeter to a full centimeter long. Depending on the species, the flowers have a bright yellow to pale yellow or creamy white color. The flowering period is usually between June and September. The abundance of flowers is enormous and, especially with continuous cleaning, new flowers are always formed.
The flowers are rich in pollen and nectar and are popular with bees and other beneficial insects. In this respect, it is also advisable to bring dog chamomile into the garden for a natural garden biological balance.
The flowers of the dye chamomile have another special property that is anchored in their name. They contain an intense, yellow stain dye that used to be used mainly to dye textiles.
Overview of flower properties:
- Typical cup-shaped flowers approx. 2 ½ to 4 cm in diameter
- Layered wreath of petals
- Yellow to creamy white color
- Long flowering period between June and September
- Valuable insect pasture
After flowering, chamomiles form elongated, cylindrical to conical fruits with an angular cross-section. Numerous seeds are formed in the fruit, which the canine chamomile effectively sows. In this way, despite the rather limited lifespan of the individual plants, it secures its existence in a very reliable way.
The canine chamomiles are often found in nature in our country and their preferred settlement areas reveal their location requirements - which are generally not particularly demanding. It usually grows where other plants would not set foot (or roots) - the camomile feels very comfortable on stony construction sites or on railway embankments and can give these otherwise desolate areas a lively appearance.
In general, dog chamomile likes poor, sandy to rocky soils with little nutrient content. Anyone who otherwise has a hard time making anything bloom with a stony garden soil will find a grateful buyer in dog chamomile. The only thing she wants a lot from is sunlight. What she doesn't want to know about, however, is waterlogging. So loamy, water-retaining soil is not for them at all. Especially in winter, frost can be dangerous for her.
Because it likes stony soils, the dog chamomile is ideal for planting rock gardens. If you want to bring a little flower color and a homely, simple charm to your rock garden, the Anthemis is recommended to you. Some varieties also form very dense cushion populations so that they can function as colorful ground cover.
Site requirements at a glance:
- Generally very undemanding
- Prefers sandy to stony, poor soils
- Unfavorable: water-retaining, loamy soils
- Loves the sun
- Well suited for rock gardens
If you want to plant dog chamomile in an area in the bed, the plant spacing depends on the type and variety you have chosen. The many variants reach slightly different sizes and sometimes form looser and sometimes denser clumps. For smaller and more loosely spreading species such as the silvery mountain chamomile, you should stick to around 9 to 12 plants per m². Larger species such as the garden dyer's chamomile that grow in densely groves need fewer specimens, around 4-5 per m².
In general, the following applies: the more extensive your planting plan is, the more plants you should plant.
In order to give canine chamomiles a vitalising boost, it is advisable to cut them back after flowering, i.e. around the end of September. This allows you to collect some energy for the winter. You should always cut off dead flowers soon to encourage them to grow again.
Chamomiles will retain their flowering for a long time even after the entire plant has been cut. This makes them ideal as cut flowers for bouquets.
- Strengthening cure by pruning after the main flowering - preparation for the winter
- Clean off dead flowers continuously
- Also lasts a long time as a cut flower
Basically, most perennial canine chamomiles are hardy. So they can be planted permanently in the open without any problems and do not have to be brought into the house in autumn. If the temperature is very severe and the soil is not quite so permeable, you should protect the plants by covering them with fir branches or sackcloth.
In the pot
You can also cultivate dog chamomiles in a tub. So you can get the good-mood flowers on the balcony or terrace - and with them also humming visitors, who also provide a summery flair and can also pollinate any neighboring plants.
If you keep a dog chamomile in the pot, you have to be a little more careful and close-knit with the care. Regular, if not particularly extensive, watering is necessary here. Only water enough so that the root ball does not dry out completely. A mixture of normal potting soil and a good proportion of sand is suitable as a substrate.
As a rule, chamomile does not need a separate water supply. She generally likes it dry and dry. However, if you keep her in the bucket, you should give her some water regularly. Make sure, however, that the substrate contains good drainage and that no waterlogging can occur.
No special fertilizer is required for chamomile - since it is adapted to poor soils, additional nutrients should be avoided. In the case of a bucket culture, if you value lush flowering, you can, if necessary, give some fertilizer with an emphasis on potash and phosphorus - but very sparingly and in low doses.
The dog chamomile takes care of its existence by itself. In addition, it usually forms seeds in abundance, with which it multiplies itself. If you want to specifically reproduce a dog chamomile, you can either use the seeds or use the plugging method.
It is best to collect seeds from the fruits of your current canine chamomile population that have ripened in late September or early October. It is best to store these over the winter. In spring, place them in planters with potting soil, which you place in a light and relatively warm place. They can best be kept evenly moist under foil until they germinate.
Dog chamomile can also be easily propagated using cuttings. This method is not so time-consuming and is especially possible during the entire main vegetation phase. Simply cut off a young but well-developed shoot from the mother plant with a sharp knife. You can let it root in a growing substrate (9.05 € at Amazon *) or simply in a water glass.
Chamomiles are not only very easy to care for because of their undemanding location, water and nutrient requirements, they are also virtually immune to any disease. Even snails usually leave them alone.
The real chamomile has been valued as a medicinal plant for thousands of years and is used both externally and internally for calming, anti-inflammatory, disinfection, anticonvulsant and digestive aid. Unfortunately, dog chamomile cannot offer these beneficial effects. On the contrary - it is even slightly poisonous. Therefore, care should be taken when collecting to avoid mix-ups. Some species of dog chamomile look very similar to real chamomile. However, it is very easy to avoid confusion.
Advice against confusion
On the one hand, clear distinguishing features are the smell: if the typical chamomile scent is missing and at most a herbaceous, weak smell can be perceived, you have no real chamomile in front of your nose. On the other hand, in contrast to real chamomile, dog chamomiles do not have a hollow but a filled flower base.
Real chamomile also typically has slightly drooping petals that are not slightly jagged like those of the canine chamomile. Real chamomile is also much rarer than the canine chamomile species.
The harmful substance in canine chamomiles is the sesquiterpene lactone anthecotulide. It triggers allergy-like reactions such as skin irritations with intensive skin contact and with excessive consumption swelling of the mucous membranes and irritation of the respiratory tract. But there is no mortal danger.
- Dog chamomile, in contrast to real chamomile, is slightly poisonous
- Contains sesquiterpene lactone anthecotulide
- Causes skin irritation, swelling and irritation of the airways
- No mortal danger
There is also a slight risk of poisoning for dogs because of the sesquiterpene lactone anthecotulide - this is, however, negligible because these four-legged friends usually have little urge to eat plants and the concentration of the substance in the plant is not very high.
Some of the dog chamomile varieties for the garden and balcony are now available in specialist shops. In terms of breeding, however, only a fraction of the many different species is represented. The most common varieties to be found are the dyer's dog chamomile, the Carpathian dog chamomile or the mountain chamomile.
The dyer's chamomile, botanically Anthemis tinctoria, is in turn divided into several subspecies. The subspecies Anthemis tinctoria tinctoria is the most commonly available for gardening - its common name is accordingly also garden chamomile. Of this subspecies, for example, the variety Dwarf Form is particularly popular.
* Dwarf form *:
The garden dyer's chamomile 'Dwarf Form' is characterized by its rich, golden-yellow bloom, which looks very decorative with a relatively large, plate-shaped head of about 5-10 centimeters in diameter. The flowers appear from June and delight with their colorful, cheerful splendor until September. The garden dyer's chamomile is particularly appealing due to its unusually aromatic fragrance for dog chamomiles.
Its abundance of pollen and nectar is also a very positive characteristic of this variety - by planting it, you can attract beneficial insects and increase the biodiversity of your garden.
The plant becomes about 25 to 40 cm high and shows a bushy, dense, clumpy habit. As a result, the garden dyer's chamomile is also particularly suitable as a cushion-forming ground cover, in particular for rock garden planting.
Syllable mountain chamomile
The silvery mountain chamomile from Asia Minor, botanically Anthemis marshaliana, hardly differs in its flower color from the garden dyer's chamomile. Its flowers are also deep golden yellow and also have a very similar morphology with a somewhat more bowl-like shape. In addition, they are significantly smaller with only 4 cm in diameter. They appear a little earlier in the year, namely in May, and persist until July. The silvery mountain chamomile is also a valuable bee pasture.
The entire plant height is also a little behind the garden dye chamomile at around 20 to 30 centimeters.
The special charm, which gives the species its name, is its silvery green foliage, which is arranged in rosettes and exudes a delicate elegance. The structurally interesting, silver-green leaf shimmer can set a beautiful accent, especially in bouquets, for which the species is also well suited because of its cut-compatible blooms.
Carpathian dog chamomile
The Carpathian dog chamomile, botanically Anthemis carpatica, also has the beautiful nickname 'Carpathian snow'. This is no coincidence, as it describes, on the one hand, its origin from the high altitude of the Carpathians and, on the other hand, its appearance in full in all its properties: it actually blooms in pure snow white with a yolk-yellow stamp and forms dense, low upholstered clusters. As a result, the areas planted with it appear as if freshly snowed.
The flowers have a rather small size of around 5 cm in diameter, but they are all the more numerous and therefore so carpet-forming. They appear from May, but unfortunately only stay until June. The finely pinnate foliage is light green
This species only reaches about 10 to 25 cm in height and up to 20 or 30 cm in width.