Details and Information

Common Names

Buttons, Golden buttons


Common tansy is perennial forb that can grow up to 5 feet in height. Seedlings are petioled, hairy and slightly lobed margins. As the plant matures the leaves take on a fern-like appearance. Leaves reach 10 inches long and up to 3 inches wide and are dark green color. Stems grow in clusters and give the plant a bush-like appearance and are slightly hairy and purplish-red closer to the ground. The flowers are button-like, bright yellow to yellow-orange and are formed in dense flat topped clusters on the end of the stems. Flowering occurs from July to October, making an appealing ornamental for gardeners. The entire plant has a strong odor due to small glands on the leaves that produce the scent. The seeds are grayish-tan in color, ribbed and lad a pappus. Reproduction occurs through the shallow, but extensive root system and also by the seeds. 

Key Features

Fern-like leaves; has yellow, button-like flower heads and a strong odor associated with the leaves. 


It grows best in full sun and prefers sites with moist soils. Common tansy will grow along right-of-ways, railroads, stream banks, fields, irrigated pastures, moist valley bottoms, rangeland, gardens and disturbed areas. 


There are herbicides that commonly control common tansy including Milestone, Tordon, Escort, 2,4-D, and Dicamba. For more information on herbicides contact the Weed and Pest office. Cutting/Mowing can also be effective if done before seed production.  

Other Facts

Common tansy was used in teas to cause abortions as needed with the ladies of the night. It was also used to prevent or eradicate intestinal worms in people in the middle ages. It is toxic to animals, but poisoning is rare due to the fact that the plant is unpalatable.