Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

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A perennial that reproduces by both seed and short rhizomes. Stems are branched, erect, often purplish-
red, and dotted with glands. There are many stems per plant and can grow up to 1.5 m tall. Leaves alternate
on the stem and are deeply divided into numerous narrow, individual leaflets with toothed edges. Flowers are yellow, numerous, and button-like, occurring in dense, flat-topped clusters at the tops of the stems (0.5-1 cm wide). Seeds are yellowish brown achenes with short, five-toothed crowns. CAUTION: Plants contain alkaloids that are toxic to both humans and livestock if consumed in large quantities.

Key Identifiers
  • Short rhizomes
  • Fern-like, aromatic leaves
  • Yellow, button like flowers in clusters
Location in Canada
Common Tansy has been reported in all Canadian provinces with the exception of Nunavut and the Yukon.

Alberta Invasive Plants Council - Common Tansy

Similar species
Lake Huron Tansy (Tanacetum huronense) - has leaves that are usually hairy, scarcely dotted with glands, deeply twice or more divided leaves and flowers usually measure 1-2 cm wide.

Tansy ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) can be distinguished from common tansy by the presence of ray florets and ruffled leaves.

Mayweed chamomile (Anthemis cotula) can be distinguished from common tansy by the presence of white ray florets and leaves that are divided two to three times into linear segments.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Chris Neeser.
This document is maintained by Shelley Barkley.
This information published to the web on March 12, 2012.
Last Reviewed/Revised on August 21, 2018.