Vail Weed of the week: Chamomile, Oxeye Daisy
July 12, 2010
This week, we’ll look at two commonly seen plants that are currently in bloom around Eagle County and have similar growth habits and control methods: oxeye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) and scentless chamomile (Tripleurospermum perforatum). These plants are targeted by Eagle County’s municipal and county noxious-weed-management programs.Characteristics• Both plants have a daisy-like flower with white petals and a bright-yellow center, emerging in mid-summer. Both plants grow to 10 to 24 inches in height.• Oxeye daisy leaves are smooth and gently lobed. The basal leaves can be described as “spoon-like.”• Chamomile has soft fern-like leaves.• As with many noxious weeds, these plants are escaped garden perennials that now invade open space and crowd out native plants.• One scentless chamomile plant can produce up to 1 million seeds that are viable as soon as the flower is formed. Buried seeds can remain viable up to 15 years.• Chamomile causes blistering in the muscles of wildlife, thus they cannot use it for forage. Do not confuse this chamomile with the kind used for making tea; it will cause blistering in the mouth and throat.Control• Control of both oxeye daisy and scentless chamomile is relatively easy. Smaller populations can be maintained by hand pulling before seed production. Larger infestations should be dealt with by treating with an approved herbicide. Please remember that when using herbicides, always read and follow the label. If hand pulling, be sure to remove the entire root system and to bag the plants and dispose of them by sending them to the landfill. • Maintaining healthy native plant communities is the best way to prevent the establishment of both plants. Chamomile quickly invades disturbed areas, so proper revegetation is critical to controlling this plant, as well as other noxious weed species.Substitutes• Many people in Eagle County are very attached to the oxeye daisies in their gardens and natural areas not realizing that they are noxious weeds. • If you desire a daisy in your garden a good substitute for the oxeye daisy could be a shasta daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum), blanket flower (Gaillardia species) or, better yet, one of our native asters (Erigeron species).For more information on these plants and the weed-management programs in Eagle County, visit http://www.eaglecounty.us/weed or http://www.vailgov.com/weeds or call the Eagle County Weed and Pest Department at 970-328-3540, the Town of Vail Department of Public Works at 970-479-2158 or the Eagle County Extension Office at 970-328-8630.