Flowerer with memorable looks

Photos: Arne Ader
Translation: Liis
Tansy     Harilik soolikarohi      Tanacetum vulgare
The tansy flowers only have disk florets; each flower has a diameter of about one centimetre and they grow at the tips of the stems, in corymb-like clusters. The leaves are similar to those of pinnately (feather-like) lobed ferns. The plants have strong rhizomes and root systems, sometimes the stands grow almost to bush measures, up to a metre high. As a light-demanding plant it grows near human settlements, on dry pebbly shore banks or alvars but in a dense forest we will not find the tansy, and less frequently in central Estonia too.
It is a cultivated plant that was once, long ago, brought here as a medicinal herb, by now naturalised. Modern medicine does not recommend the use of tansy – the plant is toxic. The Estonian name – soolikarohi, “gut herb“ – suggests that it was used to get rid of intestinal parasites in both humans and domestic animals. Rubbing the plant in your hand releases a strong aromatic camphor odour that reminds of the "sickbed room“ smell remembered from childhood.




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