Pineapple weed is a persistent plant that thrives in well-trodden areas in the city and countryside, hence its nickname: street weed.

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Rubbing the flowers releases their smell, which is reminiscent of pineapple, mango or even passionfruit – a joyous discovery for adults and little ones alike.

Find out more about this hardy plant – including how to identify it, how to make pineapple weed tea and other recipe ideas – with our forager's guide.

Looking for more things to forage? Check out our guides to foraging in May, June and July.

Monthly foraging guide

Our beginner's guide to foraging in Britain explains what you can gather in hedgerows, woodlands, along the coast and in the countryside. 
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Pineapple weed guide

How to identify pineapple weed

Native to North America, pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea (Asteraceae)) has been well-established in Europe since the 19th century and has spread across much of Asia and Australia.

Pineapple weed is distinguished by its petal-less, pineapple-shaped flowerheads, which are also thought to have inspired its name.

It grows to 12cm/5in tall with feathery leaves and greeny-yellow, domed flowerheads with no petals.

Pineapple weed on a path
Pineapple weed can often be seen growing on path verges/Credit: Getty

Pineapple weed benefits

Also known as ‘wild chamomile’ or ‘false chamomile’, pineapple weed shares the medicinal and herbal qualities of chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile andMatricaria chamomilla), with the addition of a fruity flavour. It has analgesic properties and can numb pain; it’s often used to treat insomnia, or rubbed on insect bites and used to soothe irritated skin (though beware, some people are allergic to it).


When to forage pineapple weed?

Early summer to early autumn when in flower.

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Where to forage pineapple weed

Pineapple weed thrives where people, vehicles and animals tread: it’s most often found in the dry, compacted soil of pathways, pavement cracks, field edges and driveways.


How to forage pineapple weed

Use scissors to snip off the flowerheads as the stems are hardy.

Pineapple weed on a table
Pineapple weed has analgesic properties and can numb pain; it’s often used to treat insomnia, or rubbed on insect bites and used to soothe irritated skin/Credit: Getty

How to dry pineapple weed

Place in a sunny room or warm outdoor spot for 1–2 days until dry, or use a dehydrator. To replace fresh pineapple weed with dried in recipes, use about a quarter of the weight given and make up the rest of the weight with water.


Cautions

Can cause an allergic reaction in some people; symptoms may be similar to hay fever or include skin or eye irritation. May cause stomach upsets if consumed in large amounts.


Pineapple weed recipes

Pineapple is often infused to make a caffeine-free tea – simply add the flowerheads to hot water, cover for 15 minutes, then drink. You can also use pineapple weed to make sweet treats, such as pineapple weed syrup and pineapple weed ice lollies:

Pineapple weed syrup

This is the best pineapple weed syrup you’ll ever try: aromatic and citrussy. The secret is to discard the green bits and just use the flowerheads. It’s delicious drizzled over yoghurt, diluted for drinks or used in pineapple weed and coconut ice lollies.

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Spoon full of syrup
Learn how to make pineapple weed syrup/credit: Getty

Pineapple weed and coconut ice lollies

These lollies give a cooling hit of sweet, grassy pineapple weed – that's the pineapple weed syrup – followed by a layer of puréed pineapple, sitting on a sweet coconut base. You’ll need a lolly mould to make them; some have built-in sticks, but otherwise you can use traditional wooden ones.

Pineapple weed and coconut ice lollies
Pineapple weed and coconut ice lollies/Credit: Elliot White

Authors

Rachel Lambert is a wild food tutor, forager and award-winning author of Wild & Sweet (Hoxton Mini Press, £25). For more information, see www.wildwalks-southwest.co.uk/.

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