Tanacetum vulgare Linnaeus
Asteraceae (Composite Sunflower) Family
Plant is an upright, smooth perennial with flat-top clusters of bright yellow, button-like heads. Preferred habitat is roadsides and edge of fields. Distribution is throughout the Escambia region.
Leaves are long; pinnately divided into linear, toothed
segments; strongly aromatic.
Fruit is achene (a seed which outer layer is fused to it).
This plant is an escapee from the domestic herb garden. For centuries it was used medicinally to cause abortions, with often fatal results if not taken with caution and in moderation. The bitter-tasting leaves and stem contain tanacetum, an oil toxic to humans and animals. The fresh young leaves and flowers; however, can be used as a substitute for sage in cooking. The crushed leaves also contain an effective insect repellent. It was also once a common practice to rub raw meat with the leaves to ward off flies; also used in burial rites along with the Hyssop Thoroughwort.