Monday, 14 August 2017

Scented Mayweed

Anyone who has strolled along a footpath near a cornfield or simply on rough ground will be familiar with Scentless Mayweed, Tripleurospermum maritimum. Its Latin name suggests that it grows beside the sea and the subspecies maritimum does indeed favour rocky or shingly areas beside the sea. However the plant seen inland is usually subspecies inodorum, and it is, again as the name indicates, unscented.
Earlier today, as I strolled down to the local pharmacist's to collect my d.t.p. (dicky ticker prescription) I noticed some of the slightly less common Scented Mayweed, Matricaria recutica, growing beside the footpath. Although not quite as common as its scentless cousin it may also be abundant in cornfields if they are untreated. It can be recognised with ease if - as is often the case - the ray florets are drooping.
Scented Mayweed beside the London Road, Daventry.
14  August, 2017
An old  name is Wild Camomile and an alternative Latin name was Matricaria chamomilla.  It has in the past been used as an alternative to the true Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile, as an aid to sleep. It is also claimed to have bactericidal properties.
As the flowers age the ray florets tend to droop.
It was once popular with herbalists when it was usually, for no apparent reason, known as German Chamomile.  In one of my books I learn that it 'acts as a tonic upon the gastro-intestinal canal'. It is also valued in the treatment of earache, neuralgic pains, stomach disorders and 'infantile convulsions'. Cor blimey!
I'll never walk by it again without an act of obeisance.

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