Matricaria matricioides – Pineapple Weed, False Chamomile
Pineapple Weed, False Chamomile – Matricaria matricaioides
Matricaria = may-tri-care-ee-a, from Latin matrix (mother) and caria (dear), referring to its medicinal use for the female area and colic.
Identification: This plant is often mistaken for chamomile. In fact, it is a close sister plant to chamomile (M. chamomile). Chamomile is quite rare on the east side of the Rocky mountains (where pineapple weed is quite common). Pineapple weed is an annual, 10 – 40 cm tall with a non-rayed composite flower head. Chamomile can be distinguished from this plant by its white rays. Pineapple looks more like commercial chamomile in a package when all of its white rays have dried up and fallen off. It actually does have a pineapple scent. Its leaves are pinnate.
Distribution & Habitat: Pineapple weed is found in almost all waste areas. It can be seen growing in cracks in the sidewalk in the centre of most towns and along many a backwood s dirt road.
Preparation & Uses: Pineapple weed is tasty as finger food or in salads. As with chamomile, pineapple weed is very good as a tea. In fact, I prefer it because it is sweeter. The Blackfoot Indians called it mat-o-at-sin, using the dried plant as a perfume. They often put it in buckskin bags for this very purpose. It was also used as an insect repellent. As a treatment for diarrhea, the whole plant was decocted. It is similar to chamomile in many of its medicinal qualities but much milder. It is used for stomachaches, flatulence, as a mild relaxant and for colds and menstrual problems. Externally it can be used for itching and sores.
The Dena ina K et una boiled pineapple weed and gave it to a mother after birth, believing it helped to bring in good healthy milk.