Tanacetum vulgare (tansy)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Plant Type
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Air Temperature
- Rainfall Regime
- Soil Tolerances
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Vectors
- Plant Trade
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Threatened Species
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Tanacetum vulgare L.
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Chrysanthemum asiaticum Vorosch.
- Chrysanthemum tanacetum (Vis.) E.H.L.Krause
- Chrysanthemum vulgare var. boreale (Fisch. ex DC.) Makino ex Makino & Nemoto
- Dendranthema lavandulifolium var. tomentellum (Hand.-Mazz.) Y.Ling & C.Shih
- Pyrethrum vulgare (L.) Boiss.
- Tanacetum boreale Fisch. ex DC.
- Tanacetum crispum Steud.
- Tanacetum vulgare f. vulgare
- Tanacetum vulgare subsp. boreale (Fisch. ex DC.) A
- Tanacetum vulgare subsp. boreale (Fisch. ex DC.) Á.Löve & D.Löve
- Tanacetum vulgare subsp. boreale (Fisch. ex DC.) Kuvaev
- Tanacetum vulgare subsp. vulgare
- Tanacetum vulgare var. boreale (Fisch. ex DC.) Trautv. & C.A.Mey.
- Tanacetum vulgare var. crispum DC.
- Tanacetum vulgare var. vulgare
International Common Names
- English: common tansy; English fern; golden buttons; hindheal; parsley fern; scented fern
- Spanish: tanaceto; tanarida
- French: tanaisie; tanaisie commune
- Portuguese: erva-de-San-Marcos
Local Common Names
- France: tanacée
- Germany: Rainfarn; Wurmkraut
- Italy: tanaceto
- Netherlands: boerenwormkruid
- Sweden: renfana
- UK: bitter buttons
- CHYVU (Tanacetum vulgare)
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
T. vulgare is an aromatic perennial herb native to much of Europe and parts of Asia. It has been introduced into Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Guadeloupe, Martinique, New Zealand, Peru and the USA. In many parts of its exotic range, T. vulgare is neither an ecological nor an economical problem. In the northern temperate zone of North America (in particular in Canada), T. vulgare has become a noxious dominant weed in pastures, hay fields, riparian habitats and wastelands. Here, the perennial competes with both biennial and perennial herbs, as well as with grasses. It can displace native habitats and reduce the diversity of plants and insects. Due to its toxicity to livestock, particularly cattle, positive selection can be observed when T. vulgare grows under the conditions of grazing.
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Spermatophyta
- Subphylum: Angiospermae
- Class: Dicotyledonae
- Order: Asterales
- Family: Asteraceae
- Genus: Tanacetum
- Species: Tanacetum vulgare
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page
T. vulgare is part of the subtribe Tanacetinae within the tribe Anthemideae in the family Asteraceae. The Tanacetinae comprise Tanacetum and a number of genera apparently closely related to it and possibly having their sister groups within the genus. Resolution of the Tanacetum phylogeny requires extensive studies on the Asian taxa. There is no synapomorphy for the Tanacetinae. The subtribe is a provisional unit; it is paraphyletic and represents an unresolved and poorly understood complex within the Anthemideae (Bremer, 1995). A currently widespread hypothesis states that Tanacetum is closely related to Ophistopappus (sister group) and related to Tanacetopsis and others. Depending on taxonomic opinion, the genus Tanacetum comprises about 50 to 150 herbaceous plants and subshrubs, both annual and perennial (Mitich, 1992; Bremer and Humphries, 1993). Due to ongoing taxonomic revisions within the Asteraceae (e.g., Arriagada. 2003), the Tanacetinae may be subject to changes in the future.
In Corsica (France), Sardinia and Sicily (Italy), plants occur with finely dissected leaves that are sometimes regarded as separate species or varieties. The real status of these plants is unknown (Heywood, 1976). Hegi (1923) distinguishes forma typicum Beck (= forma latisectum Pospichal), forma tenuisectum Beck and forma crispum DC. for the European flora. According to Iwatsuki (1995), the plants in Japan are smaller than those in Central Europe. Lee (1996) states the same for Korea.
T. vulgare was first named in 1758 by Carl Linnaeus, and renamed Chrysanthemum vulgare in 1800 by Bernhardi. Today, both names are widespread, although there is extensive evidence of considerable differences between Tanacetum and Chrysanthemum. The common name 'tansy' is derived from the Greek 'athanasia' meaning immortality (Haughton, 1978; Quattrocchi, 2000). The English common names 'parsley fern' and 'scented fern' refer to the strong scent of the herb and its fern-like appearance. The name 'hindheal' indicates the use as a medicinal herb for various complaints. In the USA, T. vulgare is often named 'English fern' due to its introduction from the UK in the early sixteenth century. 'Tansy' is quite often confused with 'tansy ragwort' (Senecio jacobaea), even though there are significant differences between the two Asteraceae.
DescriptionTop of page
T. vulgare is an aromatic perennial hemicryptophyte, patch-forming herb (30-)40-120(-160) cm high. The deep green leaves are 15-25 cm long, pinnatipartite to pinnatisect, glabrous to sparsely hairy and glandular-punctate. The lower cauline leaves are more than 5 cm long, petiolate, oblong to oblong-ovate and the segments pinnatisect to pinnatilobed. They are linear-lanceolate to oblong-elliptical. The upper cauline leaves are similar but sessile. The (5-)10-70(-l00) capitula, each showing an involucre of 5-8 mm in diameter, are arranged in dense, compound corymbs. In the outer ring, the florets are tubular, mostly female and zygomorphic, bright yellow. They are 3-toothed, rarely shortly ligulate, or actinomorphic (some flowers are 5-toothed and hermaphroditic). The inner florets are tubular and 5-toothed. The achenes are 1.2-1.8 mm long, 5-ribbed, possessing scattered epicarpic, sessile, transparent, non-mucilaginous glands; the pappus is a short unevenly toothed membranous cup, 0.2-0.4 mm wide (Clapham et al., 1952; Heywood, 1976).
In Corsica (France), Sardinia and Sicily (Italy), plants occur with finely dissected leaves; these are regarded by some as separate species or varieties.
Plant TypeTop of page Herbaceous
DistributionTop of page
T. vulgare is native to Eastern and Central Europe, as far as temperate Asia and was introduced by humans throughout America, Australia and New Zealand.
Except for the Mediterranean Islands and Greenland, T. vulgare occurs in every European country. Whether it is truly native to Western Europe is a subject of debate. While some botanists assume it was introduced prior to the Middle Ages (i.e. archeophyte) (Kopecky, 1978; Ellenberg et al., 1992; Lohmeyer and Sukopp, 1992), others believe that it grew naturally in wide parts of Europe (Sebald, 1996).
The distribution in Asia is localised in the boreal zone, encompassing Russia, the Northern Provinces of China (Heilongjiang and Xinjiang), Mongolia, Japan and Korea. T. vulgare is not listed in the diverse floras of the Near East (Rechinger and Aellen, 1964; Abu-Irmaileh, 1979; Davis, 1988; Wood 1997), the Middle East/India (Kitamura 1960; Koba et al., 1994; Hajra et al., 1995) or tropical Southeast Asia (Merrill, 1912; Martin, 1971; Kress et al., 2003).
In Canada, the USA, Australia and New Zealand, the plant escaped from garden cultivation and now grows wild in the natural and secondary vegetation. Only a few records of naturalization exist for parts of South America, where the plant is cultivated for medicinal and ornamental uses. There are no records for Central America (Standley, 1928; Seymour, 1980) the Caribbean Islands (Alain and Leon, 1957; Liogier, 1997) or the tropical parts of South America (Gentry 1993; Jørgensen and Leon-Yanez 1999; Mori, 2002).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Armenia||Present||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|Azerbaijan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|China||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Heilongjiang||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shi et al., 1983|
|-Xinjiang||Present||Native||Not invasive||Shi et al., 1983|
|Georgia (Republic of)||Present||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|Japan||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Hokkaido||Present||Native||Not invasive||Ohwi, 1965; Iwatsuki et al., 1995|
|Korea, DPR||Present||Native||Not invasive||Ohwi, 1965|
|Korea, Republic of||Present||Native||Not invasive||Ohwi, 1965|
|Mongolia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Grubov, 2001|
|Bermuda||Absent, formerly present||Introduced||Not invasive||Britton, 1918|
|Canada||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Alberta||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-British Columbia||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Manitoba||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-New Brunswick||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Nova Scotia||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Ontario||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Prince Edward Island||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Quebec||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Saskatchewan||Present||Introduced||Invasive||Crompton et al., 1988|
|-Alaska||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Hulten, 1968; USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Arizona||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Arkansas||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-California||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Colorado||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Connecticut||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Hawaii||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Idaho||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Illinois||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Indiana||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Iowa||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Kansas||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Kentucky||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Louisiana||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Maine||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Maryland||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Massachusetts||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Michigan||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Minnesota||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Missouri||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Montana||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Nebraska||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Nevada||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-New Hampshire||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-New Jersey||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-New Mexico||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-New York||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-North Carolina||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-North Dakota||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Ohio||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Oklahoma||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Oregon||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Pennsylvania||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Rhode Island||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-South Dakota||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Tennessee||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Utah||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Vermont||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Virginia||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Washington||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-West Virginia||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Wisconsin||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
|-Wyoming||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||USDA-NRCS, 2016|
Central America and Caribbean
|Guadeloupe||Absent, formerly present||Introduced||Not invasive||Fournet, 1978; Howard and Bornstein, 1989|
|Martinique||Absent, formerly present||Introduced||Not invasive||Fournet, 1978; Howard and Bornstein, 1989|
|Argentina||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Zuloaga and Morrone, 1999|
|Chile||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Pizarro, 1966|
|Peru||Present||Introduced||Not invasive||Dillon, 1981|
|Albania||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Andorra||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Austria||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Belarus||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Belgium||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Bosnia-Hercegovina||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Bulgaria||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Croatia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Cyprus||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Czech Republic||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Denmark||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Estonia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Faroe Islands||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Finland||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|France||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|-Corsica||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Germany||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Gibraltar||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Greece||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Hungary||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Iceland||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Ireland||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Italy||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Latvia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Liechtenstein||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Lithuania||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Luxembourg||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Macedonia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Malta||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Moldova||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Monaco||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Netherlands||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Norway||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Poland||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Portugal||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|-Madeira||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Romania||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Russian Federation||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|-Central Russia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|-Eastern Siberia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|-Northern Russia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|-Russian Far East||Widespread||Introduced||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|-Southern Russia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|-Western Siberia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Czerepanov, 1995|
|San Marino||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Serbia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Slovakia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Slovenia||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Spain||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Sweden||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Switzerland||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|UK||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|-Channel Islands||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Ukraine||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Yugoslavia (former)||Widespread||Native||Not invasive||Heywood, 1976|
|Australia||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-New South Wales||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Harden, 1990|
|-Queensland||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Harden, 1990|
|-South Australia||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Harden, 1990|
|-Tasmania||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Walsh and Entwisle, 1999|
|-Victoria||Present, few occurrences||Introduced||Not invasive||Harden, 1990|
|New Zealand||Present||Introduced||1883||Not invasive||Webb et al., 1988|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
As mentioned above, it is not clear in which parts of Europe Tanacetum is truly indigenous. By the fifteenth century, T. vulgare was commonly used as a medicinal herb in France and England. Consequently, it had been introduced into the English colonies even before the seventeenth century, like so many other plant species. By 1785, T. vulgare was listed as a naturalized plant throughout the north eastern USA (Mitich, 1992), where it spread along roadsides, fences and hedgerows (Sievers, 1930). In 1912, T. vulgare was known as far west as Iowa and Kansas (Mitich,1992). Robbins et al. (1951) report the first occurrence in California. Today, T. vulgare can be found in almost all states and provinces of the USA and Canada, except Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (USDA-NRCS, 2004).
In the late sixteenth century, T. vulgare was introduced into South America by the Spanish conquerors. Today, it is commonly grown in parts of Peru and Argentina (Dillon, 1981; Zuloaga and Morrone, 1999).
As in North America, T. vulgare was brought to Australia and New Zealand as an ornamental and medicinal herb. According to Webb et al. (1988), the plant was introduced into New Zealand for the first time in 1883, by which time it had already naturalized in Australia.
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
T. vulgare is still sold as an ornamental plant in the USA and many parts of the world, so that further spread is likely. Its broad ecological amplitude may support further spread.
HabitatTop of page
In Europe and North America, T. vulgare commonly grows along roadsides, on grassy areas, rough ground, meadows, urban areas, riverside gravel banks and wastelands. Grubov (2001) states that, in Mongolia, T. vulgare occurs in larch forests and their fringes, dwarf birch and willow thickets, birch and pine groves, forest meadows in forest belts, meadow plots and soddy rock fields in alpine belts. This may indicate a difference in habitat choice between eastern and western populations of T. vulgare. In Scandinavia, T. vulgare occurs from the coast all the way up to the birch zone and 70°N (Korsmo, 1930). As an ornamental plant, this species can be found as far north as Gamvik, Norway, 71°03'N (Jalas, 1991). In the northern hemispheric temperate zone T. vulgare can be found up to an altitude of 1500 m whereas in South America, it is grown up to 3580 m (Dillon, 1981).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Terrestrial – Managed||Managed forests, plantations and orchards||Present, no further details|
|Managed grasslands (grazing systems)||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Disturbed areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Rail / roadsides||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Urban / peri-urban areas||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Terrestrial ‑ Natural / Semi-natural||Riverbanks||Present, no further details||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Wetlands||Present, no further details|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
T. vulgare has a chromosome number of 2n=18 (Tischler, 1950) which is stable (Heywood and Humphries, 1977), even though cytomictic disturbances occur (Virrankoski and Sorsa, 1968) and a wide variation in the content of nuclear DNA has been reported (Keskitalo et al., 1998).
Physiology and Phenology
At least 50 different chemotypes exist (Berberich, 1961) which probably differ also in physiological features. Fresh T. vulgare contains 0.12-0.18% volatile oil of highly variable chemical composition. Some races contain the ketone beta-thujone as the major constituent (to 95%) of the poisonous essential oil; others are devoid of it. Artemisia ketone, borneol, camphor, 18-cineole, cis-chrysanthenyl acetate, isopinocamphone, isothujone, piperitone, gamma-terpinene, umbellulone and some unidentified terpenes have also been reported as major ingredients of the essential oil. Citric acid, tartaric acid, gallic acid, gum, mucilage, resin and tannins are also reported (Duke, 1987). Appendino et al. (1982) report a hydroperoxysesquiterpene lactone, crispolide. Amines were sought but undetected in the flowers. Dry seeds contain 28.9% protein and 26.5% fat (Duke, 1987).
T. vulgare usually germinates in the spring, developing a single rosette in the first vegetation period. The plant starts flowering and fruiting in late summer of the second year. In Central Europe, the flowering period usually takes place in August and September (Korsmo, 1930). According to White (2002), a small percentage of plants flowering in July produce viable seed, with a germination rate of 10-20% by mid-August. Overwintering seeds germinate at a rate of 70-90%. If the plant is cut off from a water supply, the biomass reduces up to 62% and flowering ceases (Cornelius and Haug, 1991).
T. vulgare reproduces sexually as well as vegetatively. According to Korsmo (1930), an individual plant produces 12,500 achenes (10 million per kg). Due to the elasticity of the dry stems, the fruits are catapulted by wind or animals (Düll and Kutzelnigg, 1988). The seeds need open soil for germination. Once established, the plant spreads by rhizomes (blastautochore) and can outcompete other herbs. Under optimum growing conditions, polycormones build up dense stands that can persist for many years. Seed banks in the soil persist for only a limited time (Oberdorfer, 2001).
The flowers are visited by numerous, mostly unspecialised insects, including Diptera, Hymenoptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera. In Central Europe, some Colletes spp. (Hymenoptera, Colletidae) are somewhat specialised visitors of flowers of T. vulgare (Westrich, 1990).
In the Northern Hemisphere, T. vulgare mainly grows under planar to colline conditions and does not normally occur above 1500 m (in Austria, some cultivated forms are found above 1700 m). In Cuzco, Peru, however, cultivated plants grow up to 3580 m (Dillon, 1981).
T. vulgare is photophillic (Ellenberg et al., 1992) and prefers sandy, moderately moist, neutral to slightly basic, loamy soils (Oberdorfer, 2001). The plant is sensitive to salt (Ellenberg et al., 1992).
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC)||10||25|
|Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC)||0||-30|
RainfallTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit||Description|
|Dry season duration||0||6||number of consecutive months with <40 mm rainfall|
|Mean annual rainfall||300||3200||mm; lower/upper limits|
Rainfall RegimeTop of page Summer
Soil TolerancesTop of page
- seasonally waterlogged
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Cassida stigmatica||Herbivore||Leaves||not specific|
|Chrysolina eurina||Herbivore||Leaves/Roots||to genus|
|Gillmeria tetradactyla||Herbivore||Growing point/Roots||to species|
|Isophrictis striatella||Herbivore||Inflorescence/Stems||to species|
|Longitarsus noricus||Herbivore||Leaves/Roots||not specific|
|Microplontus millefolii||Herbivore||Stems||to genus|
|Phytoecia nigricornis julii||Herbivore||Stems||to genus|
|Rhopalomyia tanaceticola||Herbivore||Inflorescence/Leaves/Stems||to genus|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page
The phytophagous arthropod complex of Central Europe is thought to consist of 143 species, of which 13% are believed to be monophagous (restricted to the genus Tanacetum) and 45% oligophagous (restricted to the family Asteraceae). Larval development has been recorded for 135 species (Schmitz, 1998). The phytophagous fauna of T. vulgare in Alberta, Canada, includes only one monophagous species, Aceria calathinus, which is an introduced gall mite from Europe (White, 1997). The species mentioned as 'monophagous' are reported to live exclusively on T. vulgare. However, some of these species may also occur on other Tanacetum species. For instance, the second Tanacetum species indigenous to Central Europe, T. corymbosum, is rare, and data on its natural enemies are insufficient.
Potential biocontrol agents have been selected on their potential host specificity, damage to the target plant and availability in their native European area. A number of potentially monophagous herbivore species considered for biological control of T. vulgare are the flower and seed-feeding moths Coleophora bornicensis and C. tanaceti (Coleophoridae), the flower gall midge Contarinia tanaceti (Cecidomyiidae), the flower feeding mite Aceria tuberculata (Eriophyiidae), the sap sucking bug Megalocoleus chrysotricus (Miridae) and the root and stem boring weevil Meliboeus graminoides (Buprestidae). A dozen of root-boring moths in the genus Dichrorampha have been recorded on T. vulgare of which Dicrorampha ambrosiana appears to be also potentially host specific.
Brandenburger (1985) reports of 23 fungal species on Tanacetum. One of the most appropriate candidates for biological control of T. vulgare is Puccinia tanaceti (Gäumann, 1959; Newcombe, 2003). This pathogen was recently recorded for the first time from the USA (Idaho: Newcombe, 2003).
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Wind and flowing water disperse the fruits of T. vulgare. Rhizomes may also be transported by water and as such T. vulgare is often found along rivers (Oberdorfer, 2001).
Animals can be responsible for catapulting the fruit which assists dispersal and cattle may carry seeds on their legs.
T. vulgare is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens from which it may escape. The attractive flowers may also be transported as cut flowers.
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Soil, sand and gravel||Tansy is often found along rivers.||Yes|
Plant TradeTop of page
|Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transport||Pest stages||Borne internally||Borne externally||Visibility of pest or symptoms|
|Fruits (inc. pods)|
|Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport|
|Growing medium accompanying plants|
|Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches|
|True seeds (inc. grain)|
Impact SummaryTop of page
|Fisheries / aquaculture||None|
Economic ImpactTop of page
T. vulgare has almost no impact as a weed of field or plantation crops. It occasionally has negative effects on meadows due to avoidance by cattle. The north-central region of Canada is heavily infested by T. vulgare. A 1993 survey estimated that 26,384 ha, in 58 municipal districts were infested and that the total estimated annual cost to municipalities and private landowners for controlling tansy was CAN$ 256,617 (= CAN$ 9.70/ha; White, 1997).
Environmental ImpactTop of page
The spreading of T. vulgare in areas where the plant is introduced affects the diversity of herbaceous plants and, consequently, the entomofauna. In North America (especially Quebec, Manitoba, British Columbia, Alberta), T. vulgare may compete with the native flora in pastures, hay fields, riparian habitats, roadsides and waste areas (McClay, 1989; White, 2002). Thus, plant diversity may be reduced in places were T. vulgare becomes dominant.
By outcompeting native plants with a rich entomofauna, T. vulgare may reduce the phytophagous insect diversity on a local level. On the other hand, the flowers may serve as an important nectar source for pollinating insects however the corresponding investigations are so far not available.
Threatened SpeciesTop of page
Social ImpactTop of page
The possibility of T. vulgare causing health problems cannot be ruled out, e.g. poisoning, contact dermatitis, allergic reactions, including anaphylactic shock, and others.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
- Has high reproductive potential
- Negatively impacts agriculture
- Negatively impacts animal health
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced amenity values
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
UsesTop of page
The attractive flowers of T. vulgare are grown in gardens and often cut for ornamental purposes (cut flowers).
In Central Europe, T. vulgare plays an important role as a reserve for aphidophagous insect fauna in agricultural landscapes (Aphidiidae, Coccinellidae, Syrphidae, etc.; e.g. Klausnitzer, 1968). The oil of T. vulgare may be rubbed on the skin and used as an insect-repellent (against flies and mosquitoes); in Russia, powdered T. vulgare is used as an insecticide. An extract of T. vulgare in distilled water supposedly deters the feeding of some Lepidoptera larvae, and T. vulgare grown under fruit trees is believed to repel insects such as flies and ants (Duke, 1987).
Although T. vulgare is quite poisonous, it found its way into omelettes, puddings, salads, pot-herbs, cheeses, dressings and especially herbal teas (Ranson, 1949; Mabey, 1996). Fresh young leaves are used to spice omelettes, fish or meat pies. Teas made of T. vulgare are bitter beverages brewed from fresh or dried leaves and tops. The tea is said to have a calming effect.
Leaf tips are still used today in the preparation of cosmetics and ointments. The essential oil is used in perfumery.
Medicinally, leaves and flowers of T. vulgare have stimulating and tonic properties. An oil obtained from the flowers is used primarily as an anthelmintic. The unguent made from the leaves is said to be a folk remedy for tumours in the tendons; it has shown some effect in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) cancer programme in the USA. T. vulgare may be used to treat stomach and duodenal ulcers, ague (leaves put into the shoes), amenorrhoea, bruises, burns, cholecystosis, cold, dropsy, epilepsy, fever, freckles, gout, hepatosis, hysteria, kidney problems, nerves, rheumatism, sores, spasms, sprains, swellings, tuberculosis; it is considered to be abortifacient, antibiotic, anthelmintic, antioxidant, antiseptic, ascaricide, bactericide, cordial, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, narcotic, nervine, pediculicide, poison, pulicide, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary. Hot fomentations are recommended for bruises, freckles, inflammation, leucorrhea, palpitations, sciatica, stomach ache, sunburn, swellings, toothache and tumours. Homeopathic doctors prescribe tinctures for abortion, amenorrhoea, chorea, dysmenorrhoea, epilepsy, eyes, hydrophobia, labial abscess, paralysis, strabismus and worms (Duke, 1987).
Mordujovich-Buschiazzo et al. (1996) report a rather strong anti-inflammatory effect that leads to significant reduction of oedema in rats. But they indicate the high toxicity, the LD50-ratio (for rats) is approximately 285 mg/kg body weight. Oil from T. vulgare is much more toxic and should be used only with extreme caution. Ten drops of the oil are supposed to be lethal (Duke, 1987). Symptoms of poisoning include rapid and feeble pulse, severe gastritis, violent spasms and convulsions (Duke, 1987). Keindorf and Keindorf (1978) report hyperoestrogenism in cattle. Holetz et al. (2002) stated activity against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, but no significant antifungal activity against yeasts.
Uses ListTop of page
Human food and beverage
- Spices and culinary herbs
- Essential oils
- Poisonous to mammals
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page
Similarities to common species are not known. T. vulgare may be confused with some of the Asian species, but their distribution is so localised that it is most unlikely to encounter them in the field.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
While extensive grazing may promote seedling establishment on bare ground, heavy grazing results in a reduction in population of T. vulgare (White, 1997).
T. vulgare is sensitive to cutting and root-extraction (Korsmo, 1930; Briemle and Ellenberg, 1994).
In comparative experiments on the efficacy of different herbicides/combinations (using metsulfuron, tribenuron, clopyralid, glyphosate, dicamba, 2,4-D, picloram), metsulfuron was found to be the most effective (Lass et al., 1987, 1988; Miller and Callihan, 1992).
Despite a biological control programme, no agent has been released for the control of T. vulgare (Winston et al., 2014). Host-specificity tests have indicated that the host range of the shoot-boring beetle Phytoecia nigricornis is not restricted to the target plant. Another potential candidate, the root-feeding beetle Longitarsus noricus, was found to be oligophagous on several genera in the tribe Anthemideae. The leaf-feeding beetle Cassida stigmatica and the flower, stem and leaf galling midge Rhopalomyia tanaceticola also seems to lack specificity on a few critical plant species in different genera. In addition, the efficacy of the flower-feeding moth Isophrictis striatella is questionable. None of the above species are therefore further considered for the biological control of T. vulgare. The following European herbivore species are currently being studied as candidate biocontrol agents: the shoot and root mining Plume moth Platyptilia ochrodactyla [Gillmeria tetradactyla], the stem mining weevil Microplontus millefolii and the leaf feeding chrysomelid beetle Chrysolina eurina (Gassmann et al., 2016).
ReferencesTop of page
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ContributorsTop of page
13/12/2016 Updated by:
André Gassmann, CABI-CH, Switzerland
Distribution MapsTop of page
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