Sunday, 25 April 2010

Sweet woodruff and wild tulips



I grow quite a few unusual/rare plants and trees in my gardens, and thought I'd share a few with you.
These two are at their best at the moment.
The wild tulip is a stunning little flower; I bought half a dozen bulbs from e-bay at the back end of last yaar, potted them on, then planted them under one of the crab apples in the orchard; they will naturalise there in the long grass.
Tehs econd one is sweet woodruff; I've never seen it growing in the wild, but bought a very small and expensive pot of it a few years back. It's nwo settled in very well here, and is creeping getnly about and I now have several colonies of it; after this flowering, I'll split one of them again and plant on the shaded side of the back pond. Best used dried for household use, it has the scent of new mown hay, being picked and dried after flowering. A tea can be made from it, but taken with caution:

"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."

It is safer used fresh, traditionally used in German May punches.

6 comments:

oddny said...

I love tulips, and also have a small colony of the wild ones. Do you know if woodruff would be happy in a north facing situation? it's a plant I've wondered about but it's expensive and I don't really want buy it only to lose it?
Best wishes to you and yours x

One of the mums said...

I love the smell of woodruff, I thought I once read that it was used to keep clothes smelling fresh.

The tulips are lovely!

Hannah x

MrsL said...

Thanks Hannah :)

Oddny, it should do well, provided cool and in shade. After it's flowered I'll send you a bit as I've plenty; as usual, you will probably need to remind me lol

MrsL

xx

Rowan said...

Sweet woodruff grows wild in the woods near here and I have lots in my garden - it spreads like wildfire so I'm not sure why it's so expensive! It's pretty when it flowers and smells lovely when dried. The wild tulips look lovely, do you know what their latin name is so that I could look for some bulbs later on?

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Bronte Woodruff said...

am surprised to hear Woodruff is expensive .. as one of your comments says, it grows wild, and fast .. it spreads .. yes it was used in linen cupboards; it is a relative of dodder, madder, goosegrass or 'cleavers', crucianella stylosa and lady's bedstraw, amongst others .. a rubiaciae; my family name is woodruff, which is either steward of the forest, or to do with this plant .. I am inclined to think both .. Bronte Woodruff