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Common Tansy, Golden Buttons, Bitter Buttons, Cow Bitter, Garden Tansy - Tanacetum vulgare


Family: Asteraceae - Aster family Genus Common Name: Tansy Native Status: IntroducedDicot Perennial Herb
Tanacetum vulgare - Common Tansy, Golden Buttons, Bitter Buttons, Cow Bitter, Garden Tansy. There are 6, 7, or 8 species of Tanacetum found in North America. Of these there are 1, 2, or 3 native species, depending on whether you consider Lake Huron Tansy (ME, MI, WI, parts of Canada; protected due to its rarity in all areas where it is found) to be Tanacetum huronense, and Dune Tansy (CA, OR, WA) to be Tanacetum camphoratum, or both to be forms of T. bipinnatum which is also found in Alaska. Most authorities now consider them to all be T. bipinnatum. The other 5 species, including Tanacetum vulgare, the one presented here, are introduced. Two of those have small ranges, with T. corymbosum found only in Oregon, and T. conccineum in Colorado, New York, and Ohio (neither are listed in Flora of North America.) The other three species have a much wider distribution. T. parthenium has white ray flowers, distinguishing it from the (usually) rayless T. vulgare, and T. balsamita has simple, crenate leaves, while T. vulgare has compound, pinnate leaves. T. vulgare is the most widespread of the Tansies found in North America, being found in all but 5 of the 50 states (all of them southern), as well as in most of Canada. It is a native of subalpine river valleys in Siberia, introduced to the United States in the 17th century as a garden herb with a variety of uses medicinally (although toxic in large doses) and in the household as an astringent.

Found in:
AK, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY
Tanacetum vulgare

Distribution of Tanacetum vulgare in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 15 Dec 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C. Williamson
Nikon D7000
Tamron SP 90MM f/2.8 AF Macro
The inflorescence of Tanacetum vulgareconsists of many (usually more than 20, sometimes as many as 200) rayless blossoms, each of which is around .5 inches across. They are a golden yellow.
Tanacetum vulgare

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
All florets in Common Tansy are disk florets, including around 20 peripherall florets which are larger than the rest. It blooms in July through September.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tanacetum vulgare

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
Common Tansy can grow to 7 feet tall, although 3 to 5 feet is more common.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tanacetum vulgare

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The compound leaves of Tanacetum vulgare are alternate on the stem, and up to 12 inches long. The stem is ridged and glabrous or sparsely hairy.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tanacetum vulgare

Site: Meldrum Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada Date: 2015-August-10Photographer: Gerald C Williamson
Nikon D7000
The leaves of Tanacetum vulgare are pinnately compound. The similar T. bipinnatum has bipinnately compound leaves.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Tanacetum vulgare

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer