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- Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is a perennial, herbaceous flowering plant of the aster family, native to temperate Europe and Asia.
- It is also known as common tansy, bitter buttons, cow bitter, or golden buttons.
- Tansy is a flowering herbaceous plant with finely divided compound leaves and yellow, button-like flowers. It has a stout, somewhat reddish, erect stem, usually smooth, 50–150 cm (20–59 in) tall, and branching near the top.
- The leaves are alternate, 10–15 cm (3.9–5.9 in) long and are pinnately lobed, divided almost to the center into about seven pairs of segments, or lobes, which are again divided into smaller lobes having saw-toothed edges, giving the leaf a somewhat fernlike appearance.
- The roundish, flat-topped, button-like, yellow flower heads are produced in terminal clusters from mid-to-late summer. The scent is similar to that of camphor with hints of rosemary.
- The leaves and flowers are toxic if consumed in large quantities; the volatile oil contains toxic compounds including thujone, which can cause convulsions and liver and brain damage.
- Some insects, notably the tansy beetle Chrysolina graminis, have resistance to the toxins and subsist almost exclusively on the plant.
In England, tansy is commonly placed on window sills or near doorways to repel flies. Irish folklore says that bathing in a solution of tansy and salts can cure joint pain. This herb also goes by the name of bitter buttons, cow bitter, or golden buttons.