Scented Mayweed - Matricaria chamomilla

Alternative names
Matricaria recutita

A short to medium aromatic plant. Stems ascending to erect, branched. Leaves alternate feathery. Flowerheads white, with a yellow, conical hollow disk 10 to 25 mm solitary on long stalks, rays soon downturned after the flower opens.

Similar Species

Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) and Chamomiles (Anthemis and Chamaemelum nobile)

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

There is a very common and similar white daisy of waste ground and arable margins - Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum).  Both species can be aromatic.  The best way to tell is to slice through the boss of yellow florets (the receptacle) in the centre of the flower with your thumbnail; Scented Mayweed has a definitely hollow receptacle and Scentless Mayweed has a more or less solid receptacle. 

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis), Stinking Chamomile (Anthemis cotula) and Austrian Chamomile (Cota austriaca (synonym = Anthemis)) have all been recorded in VC55, but are scarce or very rare; a specimen will be needed to verify them.  They all have scales among the yellow florets on the receptacle, unlike Matricaria or Tripleurospermum.  Corn or Austrian Chamomile are often included in seed-mixes of cornfield annuals, and are occasionally naturalised.

Recording advice

A photograph of the whole plant, with detail of sliced-through receptacle


Cultivated land, especially arable fields, waste and disturbed ground.

When to see it

July and August.

Life History


UK Status

Common throughout England except the South West, scarcer elsewhere in Britain.

VC55 Status

Quite common in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 291 of the 617 tetrads.

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map