Dalmatian Chrysanthemum
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Dalmatian Chrysanthemum
ntroduced Photo: Gurcharan Singh
Common name: Dalmatian Chrysanthemum
Botanical name: Tanacetum cinerariifolium    Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Synonyms: Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, Chrysanthemum rigidum

Dalmatian chrysanthemum looks more like the common daisy than other pyrethrums. Its flowers, typically white with a yellow center, grow from numerous fairly rigid stems. Plants have blue-green leaves and grow to 45 to 100 cm in height. The plant is economically important as a natural source of insecticide. The flowers are pulverized and the active components, called pyrethrins, contained in the seed cases, are extracted and sold in the form of an oleoresin. This is applied as a suspension in water or oil, or as a powder. Pyrethrins attack the nervous systems of all insects, and inhibit female mosquitoes from biting. When present in amounts less than those fatal to insects, they still appear to have an insect repellent effect. They are harmful to fish, but are far less toxic to mammals and birds than many synthetic insecticides and are not persistent, being biodegradable and also decompose easily on exposure to light. They are considered to be amongst the safest insecticides for use around food. Dalmatian Chrysanthemum is native to the Balkan region of Europe, cultivated in India.

Identification credit: Gurcharan Singh
Photographed in Srinagar, Kashmir.
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