Globe Chamomile (Oncosiphon piluliferum) is a pretty, but prolifically invasive, species. It is currently expanding its range in the Phoenix area. It is a native of South Africa. It was first recorded as an invasive near Los Angeles and San Diego.
“Globe Chamomile sprouts and grows vegetatively from late November until the end of January. It begins to flower in early January and quickly begins seed setting by early February. The seeds are very light and easily transported by wind and vehicle traffic. In years of sufficient winter moisture, Globe Chamomile can go through up to three generations between November and the end of April, resulting in a prodigious production of plants and seeds in a short period of time. Globe Chamomile readily infests sunny, disturbed soils that are not shaded by vegetation. It readily takes root in bare areas bordering any vegetation, both residential and wild land.” (See more photos) Individual plants can get up to two feet tall.
Globe Chamomile is related to the more commonly known species of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) an important, daisy-like medicinal herb native to southern and eastern Europe.
Some claimed medicinal uses for Globe Chamomile: a gynecological aid, an antidiarrheal, a cold remedy, and to treat heart problems. Europeans administered an infusion of the plant for convulsions and the Hottentots used an infusion of the flower and leaf for typhoid and other fevers including malaria. It has also been used as food.
The other name for this plant is Stinknet because of its strong, unpleasant odor. Handling the plant may cause skin irritation or allergic reaction. Pollen may cause allergic reaction.
Read about edible and medicinal plants of the Sonoran Desert: