German Chamomile vs Roman Chamomile: What’s the Difference

by Corinne Mossati

Can you tell the differences between German chamomile and Roman chamomile ? Find out in this handy article about a culinary herb with aromatic flowers.

German Chamomile

German Chamomile – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Mention chamomile and some find it divisive. Many people tell me that it’s an old fashioned herb, it reminds them of their nanna and they associate it with illness, insomnia or bedtime. Did you know that there are two common types of chamomile, German and Roman.

German Chamomile

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita), also known as true chamomile and wild chamomile is a plant in the daisy family (Asteraceae) native to Europe, Africa and Asia. The herbaceous annual plant grows up to 50 cm tall with fern-like foliage, branching stems with several flower heads and produces small daisy-like flowers with white petals and yellow centres. Being highly aromatic, the flowers are commonly used to make tea.

Love it or hate it, if you’re not a fan of the flavour and your experience has been limited to chamomile tea bags, nothing beats the fresh flavour of the flowers steeped in hot water.

Chamomile Flowers

Chamomile Flowers – Photo © The Gourmantic Garden

Roman Chamomile

Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) is a perennial plant that grows up to 20 cm tall with hairy stems and one flower head per stem. It spreads by its creeping stems and has a low growth habit which makes it suitable to grow as ground cover or a chamomile lawn. It can withstand light foot traffic but not heavy stomping in the garden. Grow it in full sun in summer but if you live in warmer climates, plant it in semi shade as it tends to wilt on hot days.

Want to Know More?

You’ll find more information on how to grow German chamomile, which varieties to try, how to pair it with food and spirits, and how to use it in cocktails including a full recipe in my 260+ page digital book GROW YOUR OWN COCKTAIL GARDEN available now.


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