Stinking Chamomile - Anthemis cotula


Short to medium height plant which may be hairy or hairless. It is strongly scented and some say that the smell is unpleasant, hence the Common name. Leaves 2 to 3 pinnately lobed with somewhat fleshy linear segments. Flowerheads 13 to 30 mm, white with a yellow disk, the rays spreading at first but becoming reflexed.

Similar Species

Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum), Scented Mayweed (Matricaria chamomilla) and other Chamomiles (Anthemis, Cota and Chamaemelum nobile)

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

There are two very common and similar white daisy of waste ground and arable margins - Scentless Mayweed (Tripleurospermum inodorum) and Scented Mayweed (Matricaria chamomilla).  They don't have scales on the receptacle, unlike Stinking Chamomile and other chamomiles, which have scales among the yellow florets on the receptacle.  

Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Corn Chamomile (Anthemis arvensis) and Austrian Chamomile (Cota austriaca (synonym = Anthemis)) have all been recorded in VC55, but are scarce or very rare.

Recording advice

The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


Arable land, waste places, farmyards and disturbed ground.

When to see it

Flowers May to October.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread but local in England and Wales, rare elsewhere.

VC55 Status

Scarce now and probably declining in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 82 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) is a listed as Alien (archaeophyte); now scarce.  Nearly all recent records are from the limestone areas in Rutland.

It is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


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

UK Map