This Common Weed Is Actually a Great Insect Repellent

published May 11, 2023
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Pineapple weed or wild chamomile
Credit: Wild As Light / Shutterstock

Another summer means another few months of fending off your garden from pesky insects … or does it? While marigolds have a reputation as one of the most effective insect-repelling plants, another common insect-repellant plant might just deserve recognition of its own: pineapple weed.

A content creator for the TikTok account Earthen Rangers (@earthenrangers) extolled the pineapple weed’s anti-bug virtues in a recent video spotlighting the plant.

“This plant can be utilized as a natural insect repellent,” the narrator explains. “Not only can pineapple weed be rubbed on the skin and the clothes to be utilized as an insect repellant, but pineapple weed is in the chamomile family. And you can steep and brew those flowers just like you can chamomile tea.”

According to TikToker One Minute Herbs (@sciencewithnature), the tea that can be made with pineapple weed’s flowers can also have medicinal benefits.

“Chemically, this plant is identical to chamomile,” he explains. “It has all the same properties. So you can harvest all those little flowers and turn it into a tea for anxiety, depression, relaxation, digestion, [to] help break a fever, all that good stuff.”

According to the wild food and foraging company Four Season Foraging, pineapple weed can be found in nearly every continental American state, with the exception of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. The plant is a member of the aster family, which also includes dahlias, daisies, and sunflowers. 

Although pineapple weeds are often invasive due to the fact that they can form dense mats, Garden Organic notes that the plant can do well in a controlled environment as long as it’s controlled by cultivation and hand weeding to prevent additional seeding from taking place. The plant can commonly be found in lawns, pastures, parks, pathways, and roadsides. It’s primarily identifiable by its namesake tiny yellow flower heads, which resemble and smell just like pineapples. And don’t worry — none of its lookalikes are poisonous. Happy foraging!