American Feverfew (Wild Quinine)

Parthenium integrifolium

feverfew_flowers_8-19-14.jpg

Photo of American feverfew flower cluster.
The flowerheads of American feverfew grow in flat-topped or slightly rounded, fuzzy white clusters about ¼ inch wide.
Family

Asteraceae (daisies)

Description

A perennial with stems single, usually unbranched below the flower cluster. Sometimes grows in colonies. Flowerheads in flat-topped or slightly rounded, fuzzy white clusters about ¼ inch wide. Ray florets few, tiny, inconspicuous. Blooms May–September. Basal and lower stem leaves are aromatic, to 8 inches long and 4 inches wide, tapering into long petioles (leaf stems), elliptical to broadly ovate, roughened with short, stiff hairs, with a coarsely toothed or scalloped margin. Leaves and stems with tiny spherical yellow glands.

Size

Height: to 3 feet.

feverfew_plant_8-19-14.jpg

Photo of American feverfew plant with flower cluster.
American Feverfew (Wild Quinine)
American feverfew, or wild quinine, was once used medicinally. Today we enjoy it as a component of high-quality upland prairie.
Habitat and conservation

Occurs in prairies, glades, rocky open woods, forest openings, savannas, pastures, and roadsides. This native plant is a characteristic species of high-quality upland prairie plant communities.

image of Amerian Feverfew Wild Quinine Distribution Map
Distribution in Missouri

Scattered nearly statewide, but uncommon or absent from the northwestern quarter.

Human connections

The names feverfew and wild quinine indicate that the plant was used medicinally. Some Native American tribes made a poultice of the leaves to use for treating burns. Apparently the plant was also used as a diuretic. Today people plant it as part of a prairie restoration or native wildflower garden.

Ecosystem connections

Insects visit the flowers for pollen and nectar. This plant is rarely eaten by mammals because of its coarse texture and bitter-tasting chemicals in the leaves.