Chamaemelum nobile commonly known as chamomile (also spelled camomile), Roman chamomile,English chamomile,garden chamomile, ground apple, low chamomile, or whig plant, is a low perennial plant found in dry fields and around gardens and cultivated grounds in Europe, North America, and in Argentina. C. nobile is, along with Matricaria chamomilla, an important source of the herbal product known as chamomile.
Chamaemelum nobile has daisy-like white flowers and procumbent stems; the leaves are alternate, bipinnate, finely dissected, and downy to glabrous. The solitary, terminal flowerheads, rising 20-30 cm (8-12 in) above the ground, consist of prominent yellow disk flowers and silver-white ray flowers. The flowering time is June and July, and its fragrance is sweet, crisp, fruity and herbaceous.
The word chamomile, and the genus name Chamaemelum come from the Greek αμαίμηλον (chamaimlon), "earth-apple", from αμαί (chamai), "on the ground" + μήλον (mlon), "apple", so-called because of the apple-like scent of the plant. (Note: The "ch-" spelling is used especially in science and pharmacology.)
The plant is used to flavor foods, in herbal teas, perfumes, and cosmetics. It is used to make a rinse for blonde hair, and is popular in aromatherapy; its practitioners believe it to be a calming agent to reduce stress and aid in sleep. Roman chamomile is not recommended for use during pregnancy as it can cause uterine contractions and miscarriage.
It can also be used to create a fragrant camomile lawn. A chamomile lawn needs light soil, adequate moisture, and sun in order to thrive. Each square meter contains 83-100 plants. The lawn is only suitable to light foot traffic or in places where mower access is difficult.
This article incorporates public domain material from the U.S. National Cancer Institute document "Dictionary of Cancer Terms".