Tanacetum parthenium

‘Selma Star’



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Tanacetum parthenium ‘Selma Star’
(Syn Chrysanthemum parthenium)

Tanacetum parthenium ‘Selma Star’ FEVERFEW is an old cottage garden favourite, because she produces such great billowing heads of creamy white, spoked flowers.
But these cartwheel shaped flowers really are unusual. 
Strangely each wheel hub is disproportionately large and makes up most the flower head. 
A tough, hardy, long blooming and aromatic, so richly deserves “old favourite” status.
(Please see “Growing” section below for details about cultivation) 

Durable flowers in both garden and vase

You can cut whole flower heads to fill a vase, where they last for ages.
Similarly they are very long lasting and weather hardy in the garden.
Fortunately ‘Selma Star’ blooms heavily through Summer, with repeats in Autumn, plus the more you cut the more she flowers.
In addition, pretty feathery foliage makes a very attractive mound even when it is not in flower.
But the greatest blessing is she will grow just about anywhere, in anything, for anyone.
“Tough and durable” is an apt description.  
Though ‘Selma Star’ is a short lived perennial, happily there are always seedling offspring to fill the gap, or move to new spots, or even share with friends.

Pleasant aroma that mosquitoes hate

The scent of Feverfew foliage is pleasant to us, but repellent to pesky flies and mosquitoes.
Perhaps justice is done though when leaves are rubbed on insect bites to stop the itch. 
So tough old ‘Selma Star’ is perfect to plant near the back door or BBQ, or even in a pot to move around to where you need it.

An ancient medicinal plant

Tanacetum has been used for thousands of years as medicine.
Many cultures used it to treat a multitude of conditions, including fever and migraine of course.
Though the modern scientific jury is still out testing benefits beyond the placebo effect.
However most attention goes to Feverfew’s possible effect on migraine.
It was a certainly valued as medicine over two thousand years ago, when our old friend, 1st century AD physician Dioscorides, prescribed Feverfew for “all hot inflammations.” 

Plant with an interesting pedigree

The name comes from the Latin word “febrifugia”, which means “fever reducer.”
But it is also commonly known as “Featherfew,” because of its pretty, feathery foliage.
And as “Flirtwort, but we wont go there.
“Bachelors Button” and “Nosebleed”. are other evocative common names.
However ancient Greeks called the herb “Parthenium”.
Thus legend tells us it was used to save the life of someone who fell from the Parthenon during its construction in the 5th century BC. So an ancient herb indeed!!


Growing: Tanacetum parthenium ‘Selma Star’

– Height with flowers: 45cm approx.
– Width: 45cm approx.
– Position: Full Sun to Half Shade. Will tolerate Dry Shade, and is very useful for planting in difficult spots under trees as long as position is reasonably lit.

Not too fussy on growing conditions

– Soil: Prefers dry, well drained soil. However tolerates most soil conditions except wet and heavy soils. Suitable for sandy soils and poor, infertile soils. Tolerates quite a high degree of lime and alkaline soils.
– Fragrance:
Foliage has a unique scent, almost a mix of citrus and camphor. Most people love it, some can’t decide, but pesky insects dislike it. This aromatic foliage makes a very pretty, feathery neat clump.
– Frost:
Very frost hardy, even in severe frost to well below -10.

Short lived, But will self seed

– Growth: Tanacetum parthenium ‘Selma Star’ FEVERFEW is a short-lived perennial though each clump lasts multiple years, However volunteer seedlings are also produced each year to fill the spot, plant in new places or share. They are not difficult to weed out if you can’t find a new home for more..
– Beneficial to wildlife: Bees will work the flowers.
– Care: Very easy to grow. Virtually no maintenance except for an annual shear to the base after flowering.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: The foliage and flowers have a slight bitter taste making this plant resistant to both rabbits and deer.
– Origin: Native to the Balkan countries along the Mediterranean shores. 


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