PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

The Chamomile most frequently found in seed racks for home gardeners is German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita). It is an annual that irregularly self-seeds and grows to 12-16 inches tall.

Our favorite, however, is Roman Chamomile. It is an evergreen perennial growing only about 8 inches tall and has the same great flavor and therapeutic properties as German Chamomile.
Also, we can’t ignore wild chamomile a.k.a. Pineapple Weed (Matricaria discoidea). This is a common roadside weed that is happiest growing in compacted gravel pathways and other ridiculously harsh locations. The nice thing about its odd choice of habitat is that when you inevitably walk on it you get a blast of fresh fruity, herby aroma. Also good in teas and for medicines.

Roman Chamomile offers a sweet little 6-8 inch evergreen tuft of itself year-round and blooms with small yellow and white daisies a few times spring to autumn. Harvest the blooms just as they are at their peak, let them air dry and store in a sealed jar to preserve the essential oils.

Chamomiles of all types have a very long history as medicines and are wonderful for calming a speeding brain and promoting restful sleep, aiding digestion, soothing skin irritations, and is anti-inflammatory. The flavor in tea is a distinctive combination of aromatic herby, earthy, grassy, and fruity.