Tanacetum Linnaeus

Remark The words or terms in red (actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a glossary.

jul_30_01.gthmb can't be loaded. Tanacetum is is a genus of about 70 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The genus includes herbaceous plants and subshrubs, both annual and perennial.

Tanacetum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species.

The Tanacetum genus belongs to the Asteraceae family.


Carolus Linnaeus (1707-1778) gave the genus the botanical name Tanacetum by which we know it today. According to most sources, tanacetum is derived from the Greek αθανατοσ that means immortal, in reference to the plant's medicinal qualities, everlasting scent, and preservative uses.

The Romans knew it as tenacetum and this is recognizable in the modern Spanish name tanaceto. In medieval Latin, circa A.D. 1250, the plant was known as tanazetum (and many variations thereof) or athanacetum, which was corrupted to tanésie in Old French. This gave us tanaisie, as the French know it now, and, of course, tansy in English, the commonest common name of the quite common plant Tanacetum vulgare.

North American Species

Some species that were introduced in North America and are now naturalized are: