Common Tansy
Tanacetum vulgare
Family Asteraceae

* Flowers golden, button-like, in showy flat-topped clusters.
* Leaves fernlike, with a spicy aroma.
* Height: 1-3'.

Natural History:
* Flowers July - September.
* Habitat: Roadsides, meadows, waste areas.
* Range: Throughout the United States.
* Introduced from Europe.

* Tansy leaves were used in the eighteenth century in puddings, as dyes, and as an insect repellant. Naturalist Manassah Cutler wrote in 1785 that "fresh meat may be preserved from the attacks of the flesh-fly, by rubbing it with this plant."

* "It is connected with some interesting old custons observed at Easter time, when even archbishops and bishops played handball with men of their congregation, and a Tansy cake was the reward of the victors. These Tansy cakes were made from the young leaves of the plant, mixed with eggs, and were thought to purify the humours of the body after the limited fare of Lent. In time, this custom obtained a kind of symbolism, and Tansies, as these cakes were called, came to be eaten on Easter day as a remembrance of the bitter herbs eaten by the Jews at the Passover."
-Maud Grieve, in A Modern Herbal, 1931

* The genus name Tanacetum comes from the Latin word for "immortal." The root word is found in the medieval Latin athanasia, referring to an elixir of life, and in the Greek athanatos, "without death".



Created by: Allaire Diamond and Jiasuey Hsu
Maintained by: Nick Rodenhouse
Created: July 31, 1998
Last Modified: November 21, 2008