Chinchweed (Pectis papposa)

Chinchweed (Pectis papposa)

Pectis papposa is species of flowering plant in the aster family, Asteraceae. It is native to North America, where it occurs in the southwestern United States as far east as Texas, and in northern Mexico. Common names include common chinchweed, many-bristle chinchweed, and many-bristle fetid-marigold.

This is a host plant of the beet leafhopper.

It can be found in Mexican markets sold as limoncillo. It is used in moderation to flavor meat.

The Seri call the plant casol, casol heecto (“small casol”), casol ihasii tiipe (“fragrant casol”), and cacatajc (“what causes vomiting”) and use it medicinally. The Pima use a decoction of the plant or the dried plant itself as a laxative. The Zuni people take an infusion of the whole plant as a carminative, and use an infusion of the flowers as eye drops for snowblindness. They also use the chewed flowers as perfume before dancing in ceremonies of “the secret fraternities”. The Havasupai parch and grind the seeds and use them to make mush and soup. They also dip the fresh plant in salt water and eat it with mush or cornmeal as a condiment. The Pueblo use it as a spice.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.