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Noxious Weeds – Scentless Chamomile

Spring is a Great Time to Get Rid of Those Crazy Daisies!

Want to know what Nederland’s most prolific noxious weed is?  Well it’s scentless chamomile or what some people call, “crazy daisy”.  Scentless chamomile (Matricaria perforata or Tripleurospermum perforatum) is distinguished by its white daisy-like flowers and its finely divided fern-like leaves. It grows all over Nederland, especially in disturbed areas and likes to push its way into landscaped areas. This time of year (late May / early June) the frilly masses of leaves are just starting to mound up forming large green hemispherical clumps.  Later in the spring, the white daisy flowers with yellow centers will emerge fooling tourists and Nederland residents alike that Nederland, not Crested Butte, is the wildflower capital of Colorado. Well, don’t be fooled, this white daisy which carpets our roadsides in the summer is actually a Colorado Noxious Weed.  A single flower can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds, and when these seedlings emerge in the spring they can produce a dense mat of vegetation that outcompetes other plants. Scentless chamomile can cause skin rashes and blistering of the skin and mucus membranes, so please don’t confuse this crazy chamomile with the kind used for making tea.  Instead, use pineapple weed (Lepidotheca suavolens). Pineapple weed has similar looking ferny leaves, but unlike “crazy daisy”, it has a pleasant pineapple scent (crush the foliage) and pineapple weed does not have any white “petals”.

Scentless chamomile has a shallow root system and is easy to remove after a spring rain, when soils are moist. Small plants can be pulled, but for larger plants use a weed digger and make sure the entire root is removed.  If there are no flowers, the plants can be composted. But, if the plants have any flowers, I strongly encourage you to bag up the plant and throw it away so as not to spread seeds.  If you remove lots of these plants, reseed with a native seed mix and lightly rake into the ground.  Also revisit your site several times as this process will need to be repeated as new plants germinate.   This plant loves to spread along roadsides.  So next time you go for a walk down the road, bring your shovel or weed digger and pull these plants before they spread even further. As a side note, there is another noxious daisy weed in our backyard – oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare). Unlike scentless chamomile, ox-eye daisy has lobed leaves and the flowers tend to be larger. If you are out pulling noxious weed daisies, don’t forget to pull this one too.

 

Also look for the  Weed Steaming Truck on Monday and Tuesday June 17 and 18.  The town received a grant to fund this cool project. The Weed Steaming Truck will be targeting scentless chamomile and knapweed in our town. It uses only water and therefore is totally organic. It uses super saturated steam (no chemicals!) to target noxious weeds.  See https://www.weedsteamglobal.com/