19 June 2015

A Gentle Gift

This week I found gentleness in broken driveways.

Once again it was unexpected.

And I was left wondering 'is this a gift?'

On my usual stomp to and from the shops I noticed a tiny weed growing in the cracks in the pavement. It had feathery leaves and soft yellow blobs for flowers.

Googling revealed it to be Pineappleweed, Matricaria discoidea.

The pineapple epithet comes not only from the shape of the little flowers, made from only disc florets, but when squashed they smell like pineapple, or at least some light fruity apple-y scent.

Flowers made from many disc florets with no ray florets
(see below)

Another name is Wild Chamomile. And this discovery set me off along two pathways.

1. Chamomiles give a yellow dye ... so I snuck out one evening and 'harvested' the pineappleweed from my neighbour's driveways.

The smell was absolutely gorgeous. I wouldn't say it was particularly pineapple-y, but a really heady floral scent that clung to my fingers.

After a bit of simmering it did indeed produce a yellow.

Unfortunately the camera can't accurately capture the particular tone of yellow, so here is an artful image of the cloth instead:

So there was gift number one.

2. The lovely smell and the name 'wild chamomile' made me wonder if it would be safe to make a tea from it, so I trepidatiously brewed up a few cleaned sprigs.


It was a much gentler and refreshing version of commercially bought chamomile tea.

I even used it cold to rinse my face after washing at bedtime.

Until this week I hadn't paid much attention to this weed of the streets. It was a revelation to discover how useful and beautiful it could be.

It felt like a gift.

From who, or what, I don't know.

Close up image pinched from: