Botanical Name(s): Asperula odorata, Galium odoratum
Also known as: Woodruff; 'Musk of the Woods' (french), Ladies-in-the-Hay (English), Sweet Grass (English), Waldmeister (German - meaning 'Master of the Wood')
Description: Smooth; erect slender stems that grow up to 10 inches tall with six to nine leaves encircling the stem like the spokes of a wheel. the leaves are dark green with a lance shape to them. Sweet woodruff blooms from early summer in loose clusters with the flowers being small, white and tubular followed by bristly seed balls.
Sweet woodruff gets its common name from the Old French word, rouelle, meaning 'wheel', in reference to the way its leaves circle the stems. It is also said to symbolize humility because of the way it grows ~ almost shyly, so close to the ground. When this plant is fresh, it is odorless but it develops a fresh scent that seems to be a combination of just mown hay and vanilla as it dries. This made woodruff a popular strewing herb during Medieval times where it was used as mattress stuffing. It was also during these times that churches used woodruff to prepare for their religious holidays by hanging it. The herb was popular in Elizabethan England for use in tussie-mussies; wreaths, garlands and sachets.
In the thirteenth century, sweet woodruff was used in Germany to flavor new wine (meaning it has been bottled recently and hasn't had time to 'age') and wine cups. This tradition is still in use in some places to welcome the arrival of Spring, making a 'May drink' or 'Mai Bowle'. Since the new wine is still pretty tart, a sprig of woodruff is added along with brandy and sugar to tame it as well as adding body. Fresh woodruff can be steeped in white wine to make summer wine cups or infused in brandy to be added to punch.
Medicinally, woodruff was a valuable herb in the Middle Ages. It has been used as a calmative; diuretic, diaphoretic and antispasmodic. Folklore says that it could combat jauntice and nervousness and could regulate heart activity. The fresh leaves were applied to wounds and a tea made from it was said to ease stomach cramps. Today, while it can be used in potpourri, teas and as a garnish, the USDA generally recognizes it as safe to use only in alcoholic drinks. It has been know to cause vomiting and dizziness in large quantities and the chemical that gives woodruff its fresh fragrance ~ coumarin ~ has caused liver damage in lab animals.
Sweet Woodruff Tea
2 teaspoons dried woodruff in
1 cup water
It is said that this tea could calm the stomach.
To lend a subtle grassy/vanilla bouquet to white wine, place fresh springs in the bottle for a day or so.
Allow fresh springs of Woodruff to stand in Rhine wine overnight then float fresh strawberries in a bowl before serving.
Suggested Pdf Resources
- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum
- Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum). Ficodes (Alternanthera ficoidea). Alpine Violet (Viola labradorica).
- Wolves in Sheep's Clothing By Elizabeth Rodgers Hill By now, many
- They are Sweet Woodruff (Galium odorata) and Myrtle or. Periwinkle (Vinca minor).
- Waldmeisterbowle (Maibowle) Waldmeisterbowle is one of those
- sweet woodruff, a perennial herb, the drink can be made only when the herb is in flower, as the According to legend, sweet woodruff formed the virgin's bed.
- Garden Clippings
- Website: http://www.niagaracollegegreenhouse.com.
- YEPSspring 2011.pub (Read-Only)
- Herbalore Sweet Woodruff looking forward to greeting Sweet Woodruff.
Suggested News Resources
- Exporing Groundcovers
- In our shady neighborhood, good choices include vinca, which produces purple flowers in the spring; ginger; creeping Jenny; creeping juniper; sweet woodruff; lamium; Labrador violet; and ajuga (bugleweed).
- Transform your shade garden
- Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum); a low-growing ground cover with tiny white flowers in late spring.
- THE OGDEN AREA GARDEN TOUR
- This Asian-inspired front yard has Japanese maple, Asiatic lilies, Siberian iris and Sweet Woodruff ground cover. There is also a natural stone patio with a mountain view.
- Over the Garden Fence: Can your dry plants be revived?
- Perennials such as astilbe and sweet woodruff might fry back to the ground in a hot, dry summer, but they almost always bounce back when the weather is more amenable.
Suggested Web Resources
- Sweet Woodruff
- The beautiful sweet woodruff, Galium odoratum, is a shade gardeners delight.
- Galium odoratum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Its vernacular names include woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby's breath; master of the woods would be a literal translation of the German Waldmeister.
- Sweet Woodruff Herb Plants | Sweet Woodruff
- Sweet woodruff herb plants have a wonderful aromatic quality. In times gone by, sweet woodruff herbs had culinary and medicinal uses, as well.
- Galium odoratum
- Common Name: sweet woodruff. Zone: 4 to 8. Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial.
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