I found this beautiful, small daisy growing in a shale outcropping at Pandapas Pond yesterday. Unlike other daisy-like flowers blooming at this time, this plant was relatively low-growing with small (1-inch) but robust flowers. The unique leaves were finely divided and almost lacy. The entire plant had a rather sprawling growth habit and appeared to be growing happily in dry, rocky conditions. (See the photos below.)
After a look through the field guides, it looks like this is actually a kind of chamomile that goes by the genus name Anthemis. Sadly, I neglected to smell the leaves of the plant, so I will be hard-pressed to tell you for sure if it is Field Chamomile, Anthemis arvensis, (AKA Corn Chamomile), which is scentless, or Mayweed, Anthemis cotula, (AKA Stinking Chamomile), which evidently has earned quite a reputation for its foul scent. (Listen to the other common names for A. cotula: Pigstye daisy, Fetid Chamomile, Dog Fennel, and Stinkweed!)
Either way, until I go back and check out the fragrance of this plant, suffice it to say that both these beautiful species were introduced from Europe and can now be found growing around the U.S. in the summertime. Keep your eye out for a small-headed daisy with dissected leaves, then give it the smell test! If it doesn’t smell bad, then it is probably Field Chamomile. I’m pretty sure that’s what we are looking at here!
Author’s note: I went back later to satisfy my curiosity and found that the plant was scentless. This is field chamomile!