Common tansy - really a pretty wildflower - lovely button like yellow flowers on long stems - seen all over the Western Isles and indeed throughout Scotland
The tansy is a Perennial plant of the Aster family. You can see it all over The Western Isles
Tansy is in flower from mid to late summer until late autumn when Hebridean flowers are at their best. Many think of tansy as a weed, if it is then it really is a pretty wildflower weed.
The Name of The Plant
The name of this plant comes from a Greek word meaning "immortality". People used to think that that drinking a tansy infusion would lead them to eternal life.
Resists attack by Insects
Although loved by bees and hoverflies, the Tansy plant resists attacks by crawling insect, like ants, as its stems are barbed and have downward pointed hairs, preventing the insects crawling up the stalk and attacking the flowers that are in bloom.
Old Name - Chrysanthemum Vulgare
The tansy plant used to be be called: Chrysanthemum Vulgare.
Description for The Tansy Plant
Tansy flowers are golden and appear in flat-topped clusters; the tansy flower's shape is "button like". The foliage is feathery and fragrant. Tansy has a stout reddish, erect stem, usually smooth and 2 - 3ft tall, and branching near the top.
The leaves are alternate, and pinnately lobed, divided almost to the center into about seven pairs of segments, or lobes, which are again divided into smaller lobes having saw-toothed edgesCommon tansy is a toxic plant. The leave release a pungent aroma when rubbed which acts as a strong insect repellent, especially good for deterring flies. The Flowerhead diameter c 7-11 mm. Common tansy often grows to a height of about 3 feet with a similar spread.
Loved By Many Insects
Tansy is attractive to a wide range of insects, including hoverflies and bees, and it makes a good plant for the back of a border where its attractive foliage can set off more showy flowers.
The plant was used as a very spicy flavouring, used in omelettes and cakes. Tansy cake was, until recently an Easter treat.
Tansy was used by herbologists in a whole range of treatments from miscarriages to mouthwash. In Scotland it is said that in the past an infusion of the dried flowers & seeds was used for the treatment of "gout". Also the roots when preserved with honey or sugar, have also been reputed to ward against gout, if eaten fasting every day for a certain time.
A yellow dye can be extracted from the yellow wildflowers of the tansy plant
Middle Ages Customs
In the Middle Ages, it was used as a 'strewing herb' and placed on floors with other herbs to help make the rooms smell sweeter. Surprisingly, it was also used as a culinary herb, despite its strong, bitter taste.
|Inches and cm sizes are approximate|