Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Mayweed chamomile (Anthemis cotula L.) biology and management - a review of an emerging global invader.

Abstract

The globally invasive weed, mayweed chamomile (Anthemis cotula L.) is an annual, bushy, ill-scented herb, originating in Eurasia. It is aggressively weedy in croplands, field-side ditches, wet areas and along roadsides, especially in slightly acidic, nitrogen-rich, clay-loam soils. In addition to interfering with crop growth, the weed causes dermatitis and eye irritation in humans, skin rashes and sour mouth in domesticated mammals, and off-flavours in cow's milk through forage contamination. Although A. cotula may be managed effectively with some broadleaf herbicides in cereal crops, it is much more difficult to manage in broadleaved crops and cover crops. In some regions, aggressive use of relatively few herbicides has selected for acetolactate synthase herbicide resistance in A. cotula. Therefore, A. cotula poses serious ecological and economic challenges in many regions. Despite this threat, the details of A. cotula biology and ecology in the context of environmental change remain relatively unknown. For example, the reason for the invasiveness of A. cotula remains uncertain, but is presumed to be due to abundant seed production, allelochemicals, mycorrhizal associations, minimal herbivory in invaded ranges, ability to attract generalist pollinators through an extended flowering period and adaptive capacity in a wide range of soil types and conditions. In this paper, we comprehensively review the literature and ongoing work on A. cotula and provide a research agenda to improve understanding and management of this species.