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Tansy is a tough plant that can grow in almost any sunny spot. While its ferny foliage and clusters of cheerful yellow button flowers are attractive, it can be invasive due to its underground runners and propensity to re-seed.

Latin Name

Tanacetum vulgare



Also Known As

Common tansy Bitter buttons Cow bitter

Type of Plant

Herbs Herbs
Perennials Perennials


Summer Summer


Max height Max Height: 5'
Max spread Max Spread: 6'

Sunlight Exposure

Full Sun Full Sun
Part Sun Part Sun


  • Drought

  • Toxicity

    Do not ingest Do not ingest
    Skin irritant Skin irritant


    Native Range

    Temperate Eurasia


    Historically, tansy was grown for its medicinal properties, which included treating rheumatism, fevers, sores, intestinal worms, and other digestive problems. It can also be used as an insect repellent. Thomas Jefferson was growing it in his kitchen garden at Monticello.

    Planted at Mount Vernon

    Planted at Mount Vernon Upper Garden

  • Upper Garden

  • Hardiness Zones

    4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b USDA basemap

    Average annual extreme minimum temperature 1976-2005

    map legend 4a 4b 5a 5b 6a 6b 7a 7b 8a 8b

    Bartlett Tree Expert Company has been working with Mount Vernon Estate since 2011 providing expert arboricultural care and GPS mapping for the estate’s historic trees, as well as support from their research facility.   Mount Vernon is proud to partner with Bartlett Tree Experts and appreciates their sponsorship of George Washington’s Mount Vernon Plant Finder App.

    Bring Washington's Garden Home

    Purchase our historic seeds, collected from plants grown at Mount Vernon and plant them in your own garden.

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