German chamomile or Matricaria recutita is the official medicinal plant used across the world.The generic name, chamomile, is derived from Greek literature, khamai, meaning “on the ground,” and melon, meaning “apple.” German chamomile (Chamomilla recutita) is a hardy, self-seeding annual herb. It has long been cultivated in Germany to maximize its medicinal properties. The herb has also been called scented mayweed, and Balder’s eyelashes, after Balder, the Norse God of Light. It is also a sprawling member of the Asteraceae family, as it closely resembles the Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile).It is also known as Hungarian chamomile (Kamilla) or wild chamomile.
Kingdom – Plantae
Sub-kingdom – Tracheobionta (Vascular plant)
Super division – Spermatophyte (Seed plant)
Division – Magnoliophyta (Flowering plant)
Class – Magnoliopsida (Dicotyledons)
Subclass – Asteridae
Order – Asterales
Family – Asteraceae (Aster Family)
Genus – Matricaria (May-weed)
Species – Matricaria Recutita
Scientific Name : Matricaria recutita
The German chamomile grows to a height of 15-60 cm and its stem is branched, erect and smooth. Its leaves are bipinnate or tripinnate, long and narrow. The Asteraceae family has a flower at the center known as capitula (pseudanthium). Its flowers have elongated tongue or corolla of white color ray floret (ligulate flower) called a ligule. But its disc (capitula) has yellow florets. The receptacle of a German Chamomile is swollen , hollow and lacks scales. Its flowers have a strong aromatic smell which bloom in early summers.
Origin and Distribution of German chamomile
Matricaria recutita is found all over Europe and Temperate Asia. It has also been introduced in North America, South America and Australia. These temperate regions and open soil are the prime requirement for its survival.
Favorable Conditions for Growing German chamomile
- Soil : The soil should be dry and well drained, no matter how poor or average its quality is. This herb does not require too much fertilizer as it may lead to weakly flavored foliage and very few flowers.
- Sun : German chamomile prefers full sun, grows outdoors but can survive shade as well. It grows best if not fussed over. It can also survive cold conditions.
- Water : This herb should be watered regularly but you have to be careful not to over-water the plant. Its soil should be allowed to go dry between watering so that it soaks water thoroughly. German chamomile is a hardy and drought tolerant plant but in times of prolonged drought, it needs water.
- Spacing : German chamomile grows in a round fashion and spreads around, so the plant should be spaced 6 inches (15 cm) apart.
- Companion planting : This herb can be a good companion plant for many plants as it attracts pollinators. It increases the essential oil production of its companion herb.
It can be planted alongside basil, wheat, onion, cabbage and cucumbers and any other herb.