Saturday, 12 September 2009

North Plot Banking - Scented Mayweed

A native annual or biennial weed that is locally abundant on sandy or loamy arable soils and waste places throughout England and Wales.

Scented mayweed prefers nitrogenous soils that are poor in lime and will tolerate saline conditions. It is considered to be an indicator of loam. It is a common weed of cereals and other arable crops where it benefits from the control of more competitive weeds.
Scented mayweed is highly attractive to ladybirds that feed on aphids. Its presence also increases the incidence of other beneficial insects. Scented mayweed was brought into cultivation as early as the Neolithic period. The species exhibits a high degree of variability and selected forms are grown commercially. Internationally it is cultivated as a medicinal and industrial crop. A deep blue oil is steam distilled from the flowerheads and used as a substitute for true chamomile. Extracts have been used in the pharmaceutical, food and cosmetic industries, and for the control of pests.

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