Anthemis L.

(excl. Cota)

The generic limits of Anthemis have long been controversial and poorly understood. Several former subgenera (for instance Chamaemelum and Cota) are now given generic rank. The present account is in accordance with recent molecular phylogenetic studies and follows Oberprieler (2001), Greuter & al. (2003), Oberprieler & al. (2007) and Lo Presti & al. (2010). Anthemis s.str. is distinguished by its more or less terete (not compressed), distinctly ribbed achenes. Anthemis and Cota are not only morphologically distinct, there are also phytochemical, caryological and cytogenetic differences (see Lo Presti & al. l.c.). As such, Anthemis still counts 175 species, most being native in Europe, southwestern Asia and North Africa. Two species are native (perhaps rather archaeophytic) in Belgium as well: Anthemis arvensis L. and A. cotula L. (Lambinon & al. 2004). Both are originally confined to segetal fields and became much rarer in the past decades. However, they are increasingly introduced with southern European cereals in port areas.

For convenience, non-native species traditionally placed in Anthemis are now accommodated as follows:

Anthemis altissima => Cota altissima

A. austriaca => Cota austriaca

A. mixta => Cladanthus mixtus

A. nobilis => Chamaemelum nobile

A. ruthenica => Anthemis ruthenica

1. Receptacular scales linear-subulate, absent in the lower half of the receptacular (native) === Anthemis cotula

1. Receptacular with scales all over, the scales lanceolate to oblanceolate === 2

2. Tube of florets swollen and spongy in the lower half. Receptacular scales lacerate at apex, oblanceolate === 1. Anthemis ruthenica

2. Tube of florets not swollen. Receptacular scales entire at apex, lanceolate (native) === A. arvensis


Eig A. (1938) Taxonomic studies on the oriental species of the genus Anthemis. Palestine Journ. Bot. 1(2): 161-224.

Fernandes R. (1976) Anthemis. In: Tutin T.G. & al. (eds.), Flora Europaea, vol. 4. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge: 145-159.

Ghafoor A. & Ali S.J. (2002) The genus Anthemis L. (Compositae) in Iraq: a synopsis. Compositae Newsletter 38: 1-41. [available online at:].

Greuter W., Oberprieler C. & Vogt R. (2003) The Euro + Med treatment of Anthemideae (Compositae) – Generic concepts and required new names. Willdenowia 33: 37-43.

Lambinon J., Delvosalle L., Duvigneaud J. (avec coll. Geerinck D., Lebeau J., Schumacker R. & Vannerom H. (2004) Nouvelle Flore de la Belgique, du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, du Nord de la France et des Régions voisines (Ptéridophytes et Spermatophytes). Cinquième édition. Jardin botanique national de Belgique, Meise: CXXX + 1167 p.

Lo Presti R.M., Oppolzer S. & Oberprieler C. (2010) A molecular phylogeny and a revised classification of the Mediterranean genus Anthemis s.l. (Compositae, Anthemideae) based on three molecular markers and micromorphological characters. Taxon 59(5): 1441-1456.

Oberprieler C. (2001) Phylogenetic relationships in Anthemis L. (Compositae, Anthemideae) based on nrDNA ITS sequence variation. Taxon 50: 745-762.

Oberprieler Ch. (1998) The Systematics of Anthemis L. (Compositae, Anthemideae) in W and C North Africa. Bocconea 9: 1-328. [available online at:]

Oberprieler C., Himmelreich S. & Vogt R. (2007) A new subtribal classification of the tribe Anthemideae (Compositae). Willdenowia 37: 89-114.

Skilbeck C.A., Lynch I., Ellenby M. & Spencer M.A. (2019) Achene Morphology of British and Irish Mayweeds and Chamomiles: implications for taxonomy and identification. British & Irish Botany 1(2): 128-166. [available online at:]

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith