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Uses

Edible uses

Notes

Leaves - raw or cooked[1]. The leaves are coumarin-scented (like freshly mown hay), they are used as a flavouring in cooling drinks[2][3][4] and are also added to fruit salads etc[5][6]. The leaves are soaked in white wine to make 'Maitrank', an aromatic tonic drink that is made in Alsace[7].

A fragrant and delicious tea is made from the green-dried leaves and flowers[2][5][8]. Slightly wilted leaves are used, the tea has a fresh, grassy flavour[6].

The sweet-scented flowers are eaten or used as a garnish[5].

Unknown part

Flowers

Leaves

Material uses

A red dye is obtained from the root[9].

Soft-tan and grey-green dyes are obtained from the stems and leaves[9]. A good ground-cover plant for growing on woodland edges or in the cool shade of shrubs[10][6]. It spreads rapidly at the roots[11][12][13]. It is an ideal carpeting plant for bulbs to grow through[K].

Although the fresh plant has very little aroma, as it dries it becomes very aromatic with the scent of newly-mown grass and then retains this aroma for years[2][6]. It is used in the linen cupboard to protect from moths etc.[14][15] It was also formerly used as a strewing herb and is an ingredient of pot-pourri[7]. It was also hung up in bunches in the home in order to keep the rooms cool and fragrant during the summertime[16].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Sweet woodruff was widely used in herbal medicine during the Middle Ages, gaining a reputation as an external application to wounds and cuts and also taken internally in the treatment of digestive and liver problems[14]. In current day herbalism it is valued mainly for its tonic, diuretic and anti-inflammatory affect[17].

The leaves are antispasmodic, cardiac, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative[3][18][19][6]. An infusion is used in the treatment of insomnia and nervous tension, varicose veins, biliary obstruction, hepatitis and jaundice[3][7]. The plant is harvested just before or as it comes into flower and can be dried for later use[3]. One report says that it should be used with caution[19] whilst another says that it is entirely safe[3]. Excessive doses can produce dizziness and symptoms of poisoning[8]. The dried plant contains coumarins and these act to prevent the clotting of blood - though in excessive doses it can cause internal bleeding[17]. The plant is grown commercially as a source of coumarin, used to make an anticoagulant drug[8]. Do not use this remedy if you are taking conventional medicine for circulatory problems or if you are pregnant[17]. A number of species in this genus contain asperuloside, a substance that produces coumarin and gives the scent of new-mown hay as the plant dries[7]. Asperuloside can be converted into prostaglandins (hormone-like compounds that stimulate the uterus and affect blood vessels), making the genus of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry[7].

A homeopathic remedy made from the plant is used in the treatment of inflammation of the uterus[7].

Ecology

Ecosystem niche/layer

Soil surface

Ecological Functions

Ground cover

Forage

Nothing listed.

Shelter

Nothing listed.

Propagation

Seed - best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe in late summer[6]. The seed can also be sown in spring though it may be very slow to germinate[6]. A period of cold stratification helps reduce the germination time. Lots of leafmold in the soil and the shade of trees also improves germination rates.

Division in spring. The plant can also be successfully divided throughout the growing season if the divisions are kept moist until they are established[6]. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cuttings of soft wood, after flowering, in a frame.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Galium odoratum. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.



Cultivation

Prefers a loose moist leafy soil in some shade[6]. Tolerates dry soils but the leaves quickly become scorched when growing in full sun[6]. This species does not thrive in a hot climate[6]. Prefers a moist calcareous soil[3][18][15]. Dislikes very acid soils[20]. Tolerates a pH in the range 4.3 to 8.3. This species is very tolerant of atmospheric pollution and grows well in towns[13].

A very cold-hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c[20]. Sweet woodruff is occasionally cultivated in the herb garden for its medicinal and other uses. The dried foliage has the sweet scent of newly mown hay[16].

A very ornamental plant[21] but it spreads rapidly[11] and can be invasive[6]. However, this is rarely to the detriment of other plants since these are normally able to grow through it[6]. It does no harm to any plants more than 60cm tall[13].

Crops

Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Galium odoratum. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Galium odoratum.

Descendants

Cultivars

Varieties

None listed.

Subspecies

None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Taxonomy
Binomial name
Galium odoratum
Genus
Galium
Family
Rubiaceae
Imported References
Material uses & Functions
Botanic
Propagation
Cultivation
Environment
Cultivation
Uses
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Functions
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Environment
Hardiness Zone
5
Heat Zone
?
Water
moderate
Sun
partial sun
Shade
permanent shade
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Ecosystems
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Life
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    ?
    Herbaceous or Woody
    ?
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    Fertility
    Pollinators
    Flower Colour
    ?
    Flower Type

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    "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.


    "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki. "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki., "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.

    "image:Galium odoratum.jpg|248px" cannot be used as a page name in this wiki.






    References

    1. ? 1.01.1 Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
    2. ? 2.02.12.22.32.4 Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-20459-6 (1972-00-00)
    3. ? 3.03.13.23.33.43.53.63.7 Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-37216-2 (1981-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden. Ten Speed Press ISBN 0-89815-041-8 ()
    5. ? 5.05.15.25.3 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    6. ? 6.006.016.026.036.046.056.066.076.086.096.106.116.126.136.146.156.16 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    7. ? 7.07.17.27.37.47.57.67.77.8 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
    8. ? 8.08.18.28.38.4 Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism Orbis Publishing. London. ISBN 0-85613-067-2 (1979-00-00)
    9. ? 9.09.19.2 Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants. MacMillan Publishing Co. New York. ISBN 0-02-544950-8 (1974-00-00)
    10. ? 10.010.1 Baines. C. Making a Wildlife Garden. ()
    11. ? 11.011.111.2 Knight. F. P. Plants for Shade. Royal Horticultural Society. ISBN 0-900629-78-9 (1980-00-00)
    12. ? 12.012.1 Royal Horticultural Society. Ground Cover Plants. Cassells. ISBN 0-304-31089-1 (1989-00-00)
    13. ? 13.013.113.213.3 Thomas. G. S. Plants for Ground Cover J. M. Dent & Sons ISBN 0-460-12609-1 (1990-00-00)
    14. ? 14.014.114.214.3 Grieve. A Modern Herbal. Penguin ISBN 0-14-046-440-9 (1984-00-00)
    15. ? 15.015.115.2 Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs. Rodale Press ISBN 0-87857-262-7 (1979-00-00)
    16. ? 16.016.116.2 Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World. Robert Hale. London. ISBN 0-7090-5440-8 (1994-00-00)
    17. ? 17.017.117.217.3 Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants Dorling Kindersley. London ISBN 9-780751-303148 (1996-00-00)
    18. ? 18.018.118.2 Triska. Dr. Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants. Hamlyn ISBN 0-600-33545-3 (1975-00-00)
    19. ? 19.019.119.2 Lust. J. The Herb Book. Bantam books ISBN 0-553-23827-2 (1983-00-00)
    20. ? 20.020.1 Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Perennials Volumes 1 and 2. Pan Books ISBN 0-330-30936-9 (1991-00-00)
    21. ? F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956 Oxford University Press (1951-00-00)
    22. ? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)

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