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(matricary), a genus of short, fragrant annual herbs of the family Compositae. The leaves are one or two times pinnatisect. The heads measure 4–15 mm across and are in a common corymbiform inflorescence. The pistillate ray flowers are white and ligulate, and the bisexual disk flowers are yellow and tubular. Sometimes there are only tubular flowers. The floral receptacle is hollow and generally conical. The seeds have three or four fine ribs and a barely noticeable pappus. In some species a pappus is absent.
There are about 50 species of matricary, distributed in Eurasia and Africa. Of the four species found in the USSR, the most common are the sweet false chamomile (M. recutita— formerly M. chamomilla) and the pineapple weed (M. matricariodes—formerly M. suaveolens).
The heads of the sweet false chamomile contain essential oil, azulene, anthemic acid, glycosides, and other substances. They are used to induce sweating and to treat intestinal spasms, me-teorism, and diarrhea. Preparations in the form of rinses, compresses, and baths are used as weak antiseptics and astringents.
The sweet false chamomile is cultivated in the USSR, Bulgaria, Rumania, Poland, and many other countries. It produces the greatest yields in fertile chernozem loams. In crop rotation it should follow clean fallow, winter grain that follows clean fallow, or well fertilized cultivated crops. The crop is sown for winter (sowing takes place in July or August), late winter, or early spring harvests. Fertilizers are applied during the first plowing or at sowing time. The most effective nitrogen fertilizers are ammonium sulfate and carbamide. The inflorescences are harvested during mass blossoming; they are dried under awnings or in driers at temperatures not exceeding 45°C.
The Russian name for the genus—romashka—is sometimes used to designate species of the genera Pyrethrum, Anthemis, Leucanthemum, and Tricostate.
REFERENCESFlora SSSR, vol. 26. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
T. G. LEONOVA