Tanacetum balsamita L.


Perennial herb to 120 cm tall, rhizomatous, hairy. Stems erect, simple or branched. Leaves oblong to elliptic, to 30 cm long, to 5 cm wide, margins toothed, silver-hairy, lower petiolate, upper sessile. Capitula many in corymbs, to 2 cm across; summer to autumn. Ray florets white, sometimes absent. Achenes about 2 mm long. Pappus a toothed crown. [Chrysanthemum balsamita (L.) Baill., Balsamita major Desf., Pyrethrum majus (Desf.) Tzvelev]

Europe, Asia

The two subspecies are available, in Victoria at least, under different common names as they smell completely different when crushed, subsp. balsamitoides having a pronounced camphor smell.

subsp. balsamita, Costmary, has capitula without ray florets, often more than 30.

subsp. balsamitoides (Sch. Bip.) Grierson, Camphor Plant, has capitula with ray florets, usually less than 30.

Source: Lawson, L.; Spencer, R. (2002). Dahlia. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 4. Flowering plants. Dicotyledons. Part 3. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Magnoliopsida
superorder     Asteranae
order      Asterales
family       Asteraceae
genus        Tanacetum L.