Chamomile is a common name for several plants in the same family as daisies and sunflowers (Asteraceae).

The plant species has proven health benefits. Chamomile helps improve sleep, heals sore skin, reduces stress, and can help treat diarrhea.

However, lookalike plants can be challenging to distinguish from the former.

In this article, we will look at twelve plants that look like chamomile and some easy ways to tell them apart.

More About Chamomile

chamomile-flowerChamomile originates from Egypt, parts of Asia, and Europe. The plants can be grown from seeds and are easy to maintain.

Although they don’t need fertilizer to thrive, full sunlight and regular watering must be provided to establish them.

Chamomile flowers have daisy-like white petals and a cone-shaped yellow center. They are aromatic and have a sweet, apple-like smell.

Chamomile grows up to 24 inches and has roots as deep as 12 inches.

There are several different types, including German chamomile, Egyptian chamomile, Wild chamomile, Moroccan chamomile, and Roman chamomile. However, although these plants have similar morphology, their uses are very different.

The most commonly grown types are the German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)— mainly because the flowers are fragrant and can be used to make medicinal teas.

12 Plants That Look Like Chamomile

Here are some plants that resemble Chamomile but are quite different. These plants may or may not have the same beneficial properties.

On the contrary, some species, such as the mayweed, could be poisonous if consumed.

1. Golden Marguerite

Golden-MargueriteScientific Name: Anthemis tinctoria

Golden Marguerite (also known as Yellow Chamomile or Dyer’s Chamomile) is native to Europe, Western Asia, and the Mediterranean. It is also found in places around North America.

Like regular chamomile, this perennial plant can grow up to 24 inches. It has dark green leaves with a soothing smell.

The main difference between both plants is that Dyer’s chamomile has yellow petals while chamomile has white. The flowers stay bright throughout the season.

As the name suggests, the flowers are used for dying fabrics.

2. Oxeye Daisy

Ox-eye-DaisyScientific Name: Leucanthemum vulgar

Oxeye Daisy is a member of the Asteraceae family and is known by other names such as dog daisy and marguerite.

They are native to temperate regions of Asia and Europe. However, they were successfully introduced in New Zealand, Australia, and North America. 

This perennial herb can reach up to 31 inches. The leaves are about 2 inches wide and 6 inches long.

Ox-eye daisies have larger flowers and don’t have the apple-like smell characteristic of chamomile.

There are claims that the flower has medicinal properties and can treat ulcers, bruises, wounds, asthma, and cough. However, be careful, as the plant can produce an obnoxious smell and cause allergies.

3. Sneezewort

Achillea-ptarmicaScientific Name: Achillea ptarmica

Sneezewort is also referred to as sneezeweed, sneezewort yarrow, and European pellitory. It is a perennial that thrives from June to October.

The plant is native to Europe and Western Asia and is also found in North America. While chamomile has fern-like leaves, sneezewort leaves have a lance shape and finely serrated edges.

The plant can reach up to 25 inches when grown in moist soils and enough sunlight. It is fairly easy to grow and doesn’t require much maintenance.

Sneezewort has several uses, including medicinal, culinary, and as an insecticide.

4. Scentless Chamomile

Scentless-ChamomileScientific Name: Tripleurospermum inodorum

The scentless chamomile is also known by many other names, such as false chamomile, false mayweed, and wild chamomile. It is native to North Africa and Eurasia.

False Chamomile was introduced in North America to be grown in fallow land, waste grounds, fields, or gardens.

From afar, it’s easy to mix this plant up with chamomile. However, there are two easy ways to differentiate them.

The first way is to stare at the disc of the flower. If it has a hollow center, then it is chamomile.

On the other hand, a flatter and dense base means it is scentless chamomile.

The second method involves crushing the flowers. False chamomile will have no scent.

5. Pineapple Weed

Matricaria-discoideaScientific Name: Matricaria discoidea

The pineapple weed plant is also known as rayless mayweed, wild chamomile, and disc mayweed. It is native to northeast Asia, where it is commonly grown as a herb.

The plant produces yellowish-green, cone-shaped, petalless flower heads from March to September. As the name suggests, the flowers produce a pineapple-like aroma, especially when crushed.

Pineapple weed has medicinal properties and is used to treat aches, fevers, and digestive problems.

6. Stinking Chamomile

Anthemis-cotulaScientific Name: Anthemis cotula

Stinking Chamomiles are annuals with a strong unpleasant aroma. The name ‘cotula’ is of Latin origin, which means small cup— suggesting the shape of its blooms.

The plant has leaves that can be hairless or have soft fine hairs. The leaves grow up to 2 inches long.

Stinking Chamomile is quite similar to its original counterpart. However, its odor is the biggest giveaway.

This plant is toxic and can threaten the health of animals and children. The foliage of the plant can also cause skin irritation. You need to be cautious when around the plant.

7. Pyrethrum Daisy

Pyrethrum-DaisyScientific Name: Tanacetum cinerariifolium

Pyrethrum Daisy is also called Dalmatian pellitory, which refers to the Balkan area where it was originally grown as a source of pyrethrin. This perennial can grow up to 23 inches and has blue-green leaves.

A way to differentiate this plant from chamomile is via the flowers.

The disc in the center of the flower of the pyrethrum is not conical and is much smaller. The petals are also placed together closely and are multi-layered.

This is in contrast to the single-layered, loosely placed petals of chamomile.

8. Cretian Mat Daisy

Scientific Name: Anthemis cretica

Cretian Mat Daisy is also called snow carpet or white mat chamomile. The plant is found across the Middle East, the Mediterranean region, Poland, and the Caucasus.

The flowers of this plant have a flat yellow center surrounded by white petals, which differentiates them from chamomile (which has a hollow conical center).

The leaves are similar to ferns and are gray-green. Plants in this genus are great hosts to insects in the Lepidoptera order.

Be ready to deal with butterflies, bees, or other pollinators during the spring or summer when it flowers.

9. Spanish Chamomile

Spanish-ChamomileScientific Name: Anacyclus pyrethrum

Spanish Chamomile is also referred to as the pellitory, akarkara, and the Mount Atlas daisy. It is native to parts of North Africa and Mediterranean Europe (unlike the Roman and German chamomile, which are native to Europe). 

Although similar to chamomile, its yellow disc is not as conical. Also, the top part of the flowers is white, while the underside is purple. You might not notice this distinction until the flower closes.

10. Sea Mayweed

Sea-MayweedScientific Name: Tripleurospermum maritimum

Sea Mayweed is a flowering plant that is also known by other names, such as false mayweed. It is found in Iceland and Northern Europe.

The biennial plant grows up to 24 inches and produces flowers similar to chamomile between July and September.

Unlike true chamomile and other replicas that grow on grasslands, it’s common to see it grow around sea shores, coastal regions, and rocky shores. In Iceland, you may hear the natives refer to the plant as Baldr’s eyelashes, a common term for all mayweed flowers.

Sea Mayweed is quite similar to the scentless mayweed; however, when you crush it, a faint smell identical to chamomile is produced.

11. Doll’s Daisy

Eastern-Dolls-DaisyScientific Name: Boltonia diffusa

Doll’s Daisy is a perennial native to the United States and is also known by other names such as small-head doll’s daisy.

It resembles chamomile and is mostly used as an ornamental. However, while chamomile only has white petals, the Eastern doll’s daisy can have petals ranging from lilac, purple, or white.

12. Feverfew

FeverfewScientific Name: Tanacetum parthenium

Feverfew (also called bachelor’s buttons or Mutterkraut in Germany) is a perennial plant that grows up to 18 inches.

Although feverfew flowers are white and yellow, they are thicker than chamomile. Also, the yellow disc at the center of the flower is tubular.

The flowers are useful for treating stomach aches, arthritis, toothaches, migraines, and fever. However, they lack aroma and have a bitter taste, unlike chamomile.

Some Uses Of Chamomile

chamomile-flower

1. Companion Plant

Planting chamomile next to herbs like mint, basil, and rosemary can boost oil production, making them more potent.

Additionally, the plant has several antibacterial and antifungal properties that could benefit crops like cabbage, cucumber, kale, broccoli, apple, onions, and beans.

Spraying your crops with chamomile tea can help prevent damping off, a common fungal disease.

2. Pollination

Chamomile flowers attract pollinators and several beneficial insects like ladybugs, honey bees, and useful wasps. This can help pollinate your principal crop.

3. Insecticide

Chamomile is a powerful insecticide and repels mosquitoes and other harmful insects like aphids.

4. Composting

Chamomile plants have a lot of green foliage that is rich in nutrients. After harvesting the flowers, you can either cut them down and leave as natural mulch or use them to make compost.

Chamomile tea also serves as an excellent organic fertilizer for crops.

5. Cooking

Chamomile flowers are edible and sweet and do not have an overpowering flavor. This makes them perfect for making desserts and snacks.

6. Medicinal 

Chamomile has soothing properties that can be harnessed to manage anxiety, sleeplessness, and gastrointestinal problems. It is also used to make hair and skin care products for dry and itchy skin.

Conclusion

chamomile-plantThere are so many plants that closely resemble chamomile; however, they all have entirely different properties. Since most people grow or gather chamomile for its benefits, it’s essential to learn how to tell it apart from these replicas.

The article above highlights some of these lookalikes. Hopefully, you will avoid mistaking them for the real chamomile.

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