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Monday, 25 March 2013

Pineapple-weed (Matricaria discoidea)

 is also known by the common names Rayless mayweed and Wild chamomile. It is often mistaken for Chamomile, earning its second botanical name Chamomilla suaveolens, though the smell omitted from the flowers can help determine a proper identification (see below). A member of the daisy family, Pineapple weed has earned the nickname “street weed” after its proclivity to grow along the sides of roads, in cracks in concrete, thriving in both dry and sandy soil. As Doris Day would sing; Please, please don't smoke eat the daisies.

Matricaria discoidea, commonly known as pineappleweed, wild chamomile, and mayweed; is an annual plant native to North America and Northeast Asia but which has become a cosmopolitan weed. It is in the family Asteraceae. The flowers exude a chamomile/pineapple aroma when crushed. They are edible and have been used in salads (although they may become bitter by the time the plant blooms) and to make herbal tea. Pineapple weed has been used for medicinal purposes, including for relief of gastrointestinal upset, infected sores, fevers, and postpartum anemia.
Pineapple weed flowers used to be gathered for food by children, although most find it too bitter to consume raw. The plant, when bruised and rubbed on skin, provides an effective, yet temporary insect repellent.
The young flower heads can be used to make tea by steeping a handful of the flowers in hot water for ten minutes and then straining
The plant grows well in disturbed areas, especially those with poor, compacted soil. It can be seen blooming on footpaths, roadsides, and similar places in spring and early summer. In Canada, it can be found from British Columbia all the way to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.
·         Flowerheads are edible raw
·         Plants although bitter, can be eaten raw.
·         Plants can be powdered and sprinkled on meat, to reduce spoilage , and to keep away flies.
·         Grows on roadsides and disturbed ground in plains, foothills and mountain regiions.
©Al (Alex-Alexander) D. Girvan. All rights reserved

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