Tanacetum Species, Tansy, Golden Buttons, Bitter Button

Tanacetum vulgare

Family: Asteraceae (ass-ter-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Tanacetum (TAN-uh-SEE-tum) (Info)
Species: vulgare (vul-GAIR-ee) (Info)
Synonym:Chamaemelum tanacetum
Synonym:Chrysanthemum vulgare
Synonym:Pyrethrum vulgare
Synonym:Tanacetum boreale
Synonym:Tanacetum crispum
View this plant in a garden




Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)

USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)

USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)

USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for cutting

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Under 1"

Bloom Time:

Mid Summer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

By dividing the rootball

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; sow indoors before last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anchorage, Alaska

Juneau, Alaska

Chula Vista, California

Clayton, California

Fairfield, California

Merced, California

Woodland Park, Colorado

Fairfield, Idaho

Kansas, Illinois

Bloomington, Indiana

Evansville, Indiana

Warren, Indiana

Iowa City, Iowa

Fort Fairfield, Maine

Oakland, Maryland

Haverhill, Massachusetts

Roslindale, Massachusetts

Southborough, Massachusetts

Topsfield, Massachusetts

Atlantic Mine, Michigan

Bellaire, Michigan

Ishpeming, Michigan

Mason, Michigan

Pinconning, Michigan

Stephenson, Michigan

Andover, Minnesota

Little Falls, Minnesota

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Young America, Minnesota

Cape Girardeau, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Tijeras, New Mexico

Cicero, New York

New York City, New York

Elizabeth City, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Defiance, Ohio

Delaware, Ohio

Orrville, Ohio

Tipp City, Ohio

East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania

Mercer, Pennsylvania

Verona, Pennsylvania

Christiana, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Lubbock, Texas

Lindon, Utah

Wytheville, Virginia

Bryn Mawr-Skyway, Washington

Oconomowoc, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 1, 2014, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

I found this to be aggressively weedy, and I don't find it attractive enough to put in the time and energy it takes to control it while cultivating it. Getting rid of it wasn't too hard, though, through a combination of digging it out and spot-application of glyphosate herbicide.

Four states have declared this a noxious weed.


On May 18, 2010, Yooper1 from Atlantic Mine, MI wrote:

This weed has been spreading in my town. I don't ever remember seeing it 20 years ago, and now it's everywhere. Once it gets roots in the ground, it's nearly impossible to get rid of it. I spend countless hours every spring going around my property spraying the growing weeds before they get big and turn into sticks. I wish someone would make a weed killer that would only target Tansy, not other, non invasive weeds.


On Feb 22, 2010, temafilly from Oconomowoc, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have a large clump of common Tansy growing in the way back 'forgotten' corner behind the shed at Mom's house. In summer as you round the building, the floral display is a bright surprise at eye level, and it fills the space where grass has a hard time growing. I routinely deadhead, cutting the flowering stems to the ground, leaving a 2 x 2 mound of fern-like foliage to persist (by that time of year) in part sun.
Though resistered as a noxious weed in Colorado, Montana, Washington and Wyoming, I believe that responsible management can afford this plant a place in both Landscaping and Garden. It has been used in Britain since the mid 1500's for a natural pest repellent (much better and cheaper than chemicals - prettier, too!), and is said to deter Colorado Potato and Japanese Bee... read more


On Nov 3, 2007, distantkin from Saint Cloud, MN (Zone 4b) wrote:

This plant is listed on the Minnesota DNR invasive list.
"Ecological Threat:
Common tansy is wide spread across most northern United States and Canadian provinces.
It is still cultivated in gardens and is common along roadsides and abandoned farmyards in northern Minnesota and along the north shore of Lake Superior. South sloping open areas are most vulnerable.
It was introduced to the United States from Europe for medicinal and horticultural purposes.
Common tansy is on the MDA Secondary noxious weeds list in Minnesota. "


On Sep 11, 2007, Ducky777 from Arlington, TX wrote:

I have this plant growing in a pot near an arbor. Because it likes to flop when it reaches 4 feet or more, I have a hyacinth Bean Vine wrapped around it holding it up. The yellow button flowers blooming alongside the purple hyacinth bean vine flowers is a divine combo!


On Apr 1, 2007, Joan from Belfield, ND (Zone 4a) wrote:

This plant is listed on the North Dakota invasive/troublesome list and this information is being distributed in a guide developed by the ND Weed Control Association and other agencies.

Plant Features
Perennial, bushy, fern-like, 1 to 6 feet tall
Dark green leaves divided into several smaller leaves (leaflets), edges toothed
Stems purplish red
Flat-topped flower clusters on the end of stems
Blooms July through October
Button-like flowers 1/2 inch wide, yellowish gold, lack petals.
Seeds yellowish-brown with five-toothed ridges
Spreads by creeping roots (rhizomatous) and seeds

Documented in a few areas. Grows under moist conditions in grasslands, right-of-ways, and along ... read more


On May 9, 2006, Kelly333 from Longview, TX wrote:

I planted tansy to keep ants out of my garden. It did not work. Now it is a booger to get rid of. Invasive!


On Aug 24, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

I do not grow this plant, information only.

The yellow flowering herb blooms from July through Sept throughout North America except for TX, SC to AL and the Arctic. It is commonly found along roadsides, edges of fields, waste places and shorelines.

Originally a European plant, it has escaped from gardens and in some parts of the country, as already noted, it can become quite invasive.


On Sep 4, 2004, lego_brickster from Lawrenceville, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

This has proven to be an extremely invasive herb for us.
Somehow the seed from a nearby pot of Tansy made it into our lawn and flower beds. We've spent the last three years unsuccessfully trying to eradicae it.
It made it into our alpine beds where it sent long tap roots down between the rocks, which made it impossible to pull out without taking out the small alpine plant growing in that space.
What a nightmare!


On Aug 17, 2004, randi_rives from Lubbock, TX (Zone 7a) wrote:

This is a beautiful, fast growing, hardy plant. The flowers are very attractive and it grows well here in West Texas. This plant shares my herb garden with yarrow, sage, germander, daisies and rosemary, (however it grows _away_ from the rosemary for some reason)

From my personal experience, please be aware that overdosing on this plant can be fatal, especially to dogs. Acording to Poison Control Center, there is no antidote known for Tansy poisoning, and we lost a 4 month old teething German Shepherd pup who decided to chew on the stem and root stalk. In small amounts, however, it is beneficial, as previously written, and I do use it sparingly, but since we lost the pup, it is now fenced well off from our other dogs.


On Aug 13, 2004, ladyannne from Merced, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Another medicinal garden must. I hang four pots from a macrame holder on each side of our doors, made so that there is Tansy all along the door side and flies are no longer a problem with open doors and no screens.


On Aug 28, 2003, Happenstance from Northern California, CA wrote:

Great texture and green fern-like foliage, tidy yellow flowers, good grower, holds up to high temps, afternoon shade helps retain dark green coloring.


On Jan 22, 2003, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Tansy is great plant for the wildflower garden but it will be hog if you plant it in rich garden soil. The clump will spread indefinitly and the roots are monsters to dig out. I have it planted on the edge of the lawn where it can be controlled by the lawn mower. The yellow button flowers are excellent material for drying. Tansy is especially attractive to benificial insects. The ladybugs seem to love it.


On Dec 3, 2001, Baa wrote:

A perennial herb from Europe.

Has pinnate, toothed, mid-dark green, scented (not particularly pleasent) leaflets. Bears small flat heads tightly packed with tiny yellow flowers which have no ray petals.

Flowers July-October.

Likes a well drained soil in full sun, will self seed everywhere when happy.

Do not use Tansy when pregnant. Tansy is a herb to be used in moderation only as it can be toxic in large doses. It may also irritate sensetive skins.

The leaves were once used to preserve corpses from corruption. It was used as a strewing herb in public areas as a form of disinfectant and insect repellent. It deters flies and a bunch of flowers and leaves hung up in a room will keep them away (will keep most things... read more