I was walking in downtown Portland when I spotted some Pineapple Weed growing on the edges of an open gravel lot in direct sunlight yesterday, a typical habitat. “It seems to prefer the center of footpaths, highway shoulders and other high-impact areas with poor, tightly compacted soils,” writes Gregory Tilford, herbalist and author of “Edible & Medicinal Plants of the West.” Here’s a photo of the spot I found it in:
I recognized the plant’s characteristic feathery leaves and round yellow flowers, which are raised and textured like rounded pencil erasers. Conspicuously absent are the white petals that are common on other varieties of chamomile. I was absolutely sure of what I’d found when I knelt down and stuck my nose in them and smelled the tell-tale pineapple scent. I snapped a photo with my camera, above, and plucked some to dry and make tea out of later. (It tastes as sweet as it smells!)
Pineapple Weed is also called Wild Chamomile. The Latin name is Matricaria matricarioides. Medicinally it is calming, much like its domesticated relative. Tilford says Pineapple Weed lives in the West, only venturing east as far as the Rocky Mountains but some web sites say it’s all over the United States. Where have you seen it?
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