Yellow button flowers

Common Chamomile Yellow Buttonweed Common Tansy Pineappleweed

What are they?

A number of members of the daisy family have flowerheads that consist of apparently petalless, yellow flowers. Some are always like this, others are merely 'petalless' forms of daisy-type flowers - i.e. flowers that consist of a yellow centre with a ring of strap-like petals around the outside, but those petals are missing. The ones you may come across in the East Anglian region are shown here so they can be directly compared with each other.

Where are they found?

This is a loose group of plants that are not immediately related to each other, so habitat types are varied. However, some are wetland species and others are plants of open, grassy areas - noting the habitat could help with identification.

Identification

As the common link between these plants is the yellow, button-like flowerheads, it is important to also look at the leaves and also to note the habitat that the plant is growing in.

If you don't see your plant on this page and it has rather elongated flowerheads with tube or cone-shaped bases, it may be worth checking the groundsels, which you can reach by clicking here.



Pineappleweed      Matricaria discoidea

Originally introduced as a weed from mainland Europe, but now abundant and well-established on well-walked tracks, paths and cracks in roads and paving. Flowers more or less throughout the year. Flowerheads pointed at the top like little pineapples, with the whole plant also having a pineapple scent if crushed, especially in warmer weather.

Pineappleweed Pineappleweed Pineappleweed Pineappleweed
Habit
Flowerhead
Flowerhead
Leaf


Common Chamomile      Chamaemelum nobile

Once native in East Anglia but considered extinct by the early 1960s. Now may be found rarely as a relic of cultivation. Flowers June to July. The type form of Common Chamomile has white petals surrounding the flowerhead, but the form 'nudum' is rayless and is occasionally grown as a herb or as a 'fragrant lawn' plant and has been recorded from a lawn (where not deliberately introduced) in North Norfolk. A creeping, mat-forming plant with only the flower stalks rising much above the ground.

Common Chamomile Common Chamomile Common Chamomile Common Chamomile
Habit
Flowerhead
Flowerhead
Leaf


Yellow Buttonweed      Cotula coronopifolia

Of uncertain origin but probably native to the southern hemisphere. A recent introduction to East Anglia, possibly from Europe where it is long-established as an invasive species. Becoming established in coastal grazing marshes in Norfolk and scattered elsewhere. Flowers July to August. Flowerheads are flat and button-like; leaves with bases sheathing the stems, whole plant succulent. Other species of buttonweed are grown as ornamentals and have recently been found in our region. They often have paler, greenish-white flowers rather than yellow and can be compared by clicking here.

Yellow Buttonweed Yellow Buttonweed Yellow Buttonweed Yellow Buttonweed
Habit
Flowerhead
Leaf
Leaf bases suround stem


Common Tansy      Tanacetum vulgare

Native but also cultivated as a medicinal herb in the past and scattered throughout the region in grassy places, especially roadside verges. Flowers July to September. Flowerheads are clustered, many together, in flat-headed groups, atop tall stems, to a metre high.

Common Tansy Common Tansy Common Tansy Common Tansy
Habit
Flowerheads
Leaf
Early-season leaves


Nodding Bur-marigold      Bidens cernua

Native of wetlands along good-quality waterways, but much declined from its former distribution. Flowers July to September. A variable plant, generally growing to 30-60cm but sometimes taller, in swampy, shady places. Leaves simple with coarsely toothed margins.

Nodding Bur-marigold Nodding Bur-marigold Nodding Bur-marigold Nodding Bur-marigold
Habit
Flowerhead
Leaf
Seeding head


Trifid Bur-marigold      Bidens tripartita

Native of a range of wetland habitats. Generally less common than Nodding Bur-marigold, except in parts of the Fens. Flowers July to September. A variable plant, generally growing to 15-75cm. Leaves mostly dived into three, narrow lobes.

Trifid Bur-marigold Trifid Bur-marigold Trifid Bur-marigold Trifid Bur-marigold
Habit
Flowerhead
Phyllaries
Leaf


Sea Aster      Tripolium pannonicum

Native. Widespread and abundant in coastal saltmarsh habitats and occasionally in coastal shingle. Flowers July to October. Leaves thick and fleshy. Most plants have pale lilac petals but these can be absent in some plants (usually called the 'rayless' form), leaving just the central cluster of yellow florets. Such petalless flowers can be confused with other yellow button species on this page, or even with the groundsels which can be checked by clicking here.

Sea Aster Sea Aster Sea Aster Sea Aster
Habit
Habit
Flowerheads
Flowerhead
Sea Aster Sea Aster Sea Aster Sea Aster
Phyllaries
Leaf
'Rayless' form
'Rayless' form