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Pineapple Weed (Matricaria discoidea) Identification Guide

Pineapple Weed / Spring / Summer / Edible

Pineapple Weed is one of those plants that grows in the most obscure places from cracks in the pavements to walls. However, it tastes like pineapple – how incredible.


Common names

Pineapple Weed, Wild Chamomile, Disc Mayweed


Botanical name

Matricaria discoidea


Meaning of botanical name

Matricaria is derived from the Latin “matrix”, meaning “of the womb”, probably due to the genus’ association with uterine treatments. Discoidea means “without rays” in reference to Pineapple Weed’s lack of petals


Known hazards

There is some circumstantial evidence that some people may display allergies to this plant, so only a small amount is advised first


Could be confused with

German Chamomile or Mayweed, neither of which is poisonous. Mayweed is scentless and German Chamomile doesn’t smell of pineapple


Range and distribution

Throughout UK, Europe, Asia, and America. It is thought pineapple weed was brought to the UK from America, though it is a native of Asia, as a garden plant


Habitat

Likes to grow on very stony, scrubby soil. It is often found in rubble piles and driveways, and places where there is a lot of footfall – gateways, footpaths, etc


Physical characteristics

The leaves are very fine and feathery, and the flowers have no petals, just a yellow centre. When crushed, the petals and leaves emit a pineapple scent

AnRo0002, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
AnRo0002, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
AnRo0002, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Folklore, tall tales, and not so folklore

Pineapple Weed has been used to repel insects, by rubbing the juice on the skin, or hanging in a room


Edible use

The flowers can be eaten raw or in salads, or to make jellies, syrups and cordials. Leaves and flowers can be used to make a fragrant tea


Herbal

Pineapple Weed has been used for many uterine conditions, as a sedative, antispasmodic, and anthelmintic (wormer). Please consult your doctor if you have a medical condition


Miscellaneous

The essential oil myrcene is found in Pineapple Weed. This is an important aromatic in the perfume industry.

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