Botanical Name: Cota tinctoria
Species: C. tinctoria
*Anthemis tinctoria L. (basionym)
*Anacyclus tinctorius (L.) Samp.
*Anthemis brachyglossa K.Koch
*Anthemis chrysantha Schur
*Anthemis coarctata Sm.
*Anthemis debilis Fed.
Common Names: Golden marguerite, Yellow chamomile, or Oxeye chamomile.
Habitat: Cota tinctoria is native to Europe, the Mediterranean and Western Asia and naturalized in scattered locations in North America.
Cota tinctoria is an erect, clump-forming, evergreen perennial plant with stems that branch near the base and can become more or less woody. The plant grows around 60cm tall.
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and a dye. It was at one time often grown as a dye plant, though modern synthetic dyes have greatly reduced the use of this species. It is often grown as an ornamental, the plant is especially valued for its flowering display – there are several named varieties.
Human activity, especially the growing of cereals, has led to this plant being spread widely from its original range. As a weed of cereal fields, the seeds were often a contaminant of the grain and were sown where and when the grain was sown. Modern seed screening methods have greatly reduced the spread of this plant, though it has become established in many countries.
Cota tinctoria is a very hardy plant, tolerating winter temperatures down to about -15°c according in one report, or to about -25°c according to another. It dislikes hot, humid summers.
An easily grown plant, succeeding in a sunny position in most dry to medium soils so long as they are well-drained. It grows well on chalk, but does poorly and is short-lived when grown in heavy, clay soils. It is tolerant of drought and poor soils. Plants succeed in maritime gardens.
This species has formerly been cultivated as a dye plant, the var. ‘Kelawayi’ is said to be the best form.
Plants are often short-lived – they are apt to over-flower and exhaust themselves. It is best to remove the flowering stems as soon as they stop flowering in order to stimulate the production of basal shoots for the following year.
Seed – surface sow early spring in a greenhouse. Do not allow the soil to dry out. Light aids germination. The seed usually germinates in 2 weeks at 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer.
Cuttings of soft wood early summer in a frame. Very easy.
Division in spring or autumn. Divide the plant every other year in order to maintain vigour.
The whole plant is antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emetic, emmenagogue and vesicant. It is used internally as a tea, which can be made either from the flowers or the whole plant.
Applied externally, it is used as a poultice on piles and can also be applied to the bath wate.The leaves are rubbed onto insect stings.
Other Uses: A distinctive yellow dye is obtained from the flowers.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.