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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Denny

Herbs to Grow 5

Meadowsweet (Queen of the Meadow)

Filipendula ulmaria, Rosaceae. This stately herb is native to meadows in Europe. The flowers are quite attractive, growing in large white billowy clusters, and are traditionally used to flavor meads; hence its former name of Meadwort. The leaves and flowers have a pleasant wintergreen aroma and flavor, and are used internally for inflammation, fevers, heartburn, and peptic ulcers. Most people, including finicky children, love the tasty tea. Meadowsweet is a wonderful tonic for arthritis with its anti-inflammatory salicylates. It is naturalizing in northeastern US and can spread from seed, although I have yet to see it wild in North Carolina. Meadowsweet is a hardy perennial, it grows to 4’ tall, and 2.5’ wide. Plant in full sun or part shade. Zone 2-8. It is much easier to grow from division than seed, which requires a complicated stratification regime. Any little piece of the root will take hold, and grow a new plant. A wet meadow, streamside or the edge of a pond are all perfect spots for meadowsweet. If you haven’t such a spot, try planting it in a low dip in the garden and water it during drought. If you live in a southern climate, meadowsweet will be happier with a little afternoon shade and a wet spot to dip its feet during the heat of the day. In cooler climates, meadowsweet will tolerate more sunshine and drier soils, and even regular garden soil will nurture the growth of beautiful healthy plants.

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