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Woodruff

Apart from the visible beauty, a flower is marked distinctly by its scent and aroma. Nature has bestowed a variety of flowers as gifts for the mankind and has facilitated most of them with miraculous properties as well.

Woodruff, scientifically denoted as Galium odoratum, justifies its name. The aromatic frgrance is one of its kind and it is the chief characteristic of this plant. With its ancestral roots deeply embedded in the family history of the plant family Rubiaceae, Woodruff has explored new habitats for its survival. A native to Northern regions of Africa, Europe and Western Asia, this plant has extended its arena due to its adaptive habits and is catching rage amongst the florists and gardeners worldwide.


Germans often refer to this plant as the "Master of the woods" i.e Waldmeister. Several varieties of Woodruff have been traced in various parts of the world and with the advancing time and technology, new hybrid varieties have been introduced as well.

 

Descriptive introduction
Woodruff is a dark green bushy plant that grows to a height of 30-50 cms. It bears simple leaves which are lanceolate shaped which taper towards the apex. These narrow leaves form a glabrous and bulky appearance on each stem and amidst these little flowers evolve. These white colored flowers comprise of four petals each and cause an inflorescence known as cyme. The tiny seeds borne on the flowers are dispersed through the bristles which carry them and the pollination is enhanced in the similar manner.

Due to its distinct fragrance, Woodruff has fetched itself a variety of names such as Sweet Woodruff

Or Wild Baby's Breath, etc. This is a very prominent variety of woodruff. Scientifically it is known as Asperula odorata. This plant itself bears a mild fragrance which is exhibited not only in its flowers but the branches, the stems and the roots as well.
 

Uses of Woodruff flower
The aromatic fragrance enables the plant to smell in a distinct manner. The sweet fragrance increases as the palnt wilts and continues even if the flower is dried. Coumarin is the substance or the chemical which is said to have evolved this fragrance in the plant.

Due to its strong scent, the Woodruff is also used to keep away the moths from the clothes or other things.

In Germany, Woodruff is used to enhance the taste and add flavor to Maywine, beer,sausages,

brandy and various other food products and beverages.

It possesses sedative properties as well, and that is the main reason that it is added to all these drinks and foods.

The leaves of the sweet woodruff comprise of a smell of hay scented dried leaves which can be used in aromatic products like perfumes and deodrants.

The stem of sweet woodruff plant is used to manufacture a natural dye of various colors.

 

Other than its commercial usages, woodruff has also devoted itself to the medicinal causes as well.
Since ages it has been used as a tonic, An anti-inflammatory and as an antispasmodic. The aerial parts of the plants like they leaves , flowers or the branches are used for these purposes.

The stems and leaves of Sweet Woodruff are also used in traditional fabric dyeing.

 

Cultivation Guide
Woodruff can be propagated through crown division methods. Separation of the rooted stems also helps the plant to have a stronger grip in the soil and thus bloom adequately.

Digging up of the barely submerged stolons can also help in a nourished growth of the Woodruff plant.

Moistened and rich loamy soils provoke the propagation of A woodruff plant in the best way.

Though a strong woody plant, woodruff does not prefer full sunlight and that too for elongated hours. Partial sunlight helps its promotion in a better way.

Though it does not favor wet soil in its roots, however it is advisable to water it twice in a week to ensure that the roots do not dry up entirely.

A word of caution
The excessive consumption of Woodruff can cause internal bleeding.

Coumarin can prove to be fatally toxic therefore its doses should be maintained in a balanced manner or else they might cause severe headaches, vertigo, somnolence or even central paralysis and apnoea while in a coma.

Due to these reasons, Woodruff is no longer used as an artificial flavorant in the foods and beverages. Since 1981, its use in industrially manufactured drinks has been significantly decreased.

 
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