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Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)



Rue








(Ruta graveolens, Linn.), a hardy perennial herb of roundish,
bushy habit, native of southern Europe. It is a member of the same
botanical family as the orange, Rutaceae. In olden times it was highly
reputed for seasoning and for medicine among the Greeks and the Romans.
In Pliny's time it was considered to be effectual for 84 maladies!
Today it "hangs only by its eyelids" to our pharmacopoeia. Apicus
notes it among the condiments in the third century, and Magnus eleven
centuries later praises it among the garden esculents. At present it is
little used for seasoning, even by the Italians and the Germans, and
almost not at all by English and American cooks. Probably because of its
acridity and its ability to blister the skin when much handled, rue has
been chosen by poets to express disdain. Shakespeare speaks of it as the
"sour herb of grace," and Theudobach says:

"When a rose is too haughty for heaven's dew
She becometh a spider's gray lair;
And a bosom, that never devotion knew
Or affection divine, shall be filled with rue
And with darkness, and end with despair."

Description.--The much branched stems, woody below, rise 18 to 24
inches and bear small oblong or obovate, stalked, bluish-green glaucous
leaves, two or three times divided, the terminal one broader and notched
at the end. The rather large, greenish-yellow flowers, borne in corymbs
or short terminal clusters, appear all summer. In the round, four or
five-lobed seed vessels are black kidney-shaped seeds, which retain
their vitality two years or even longer. The whole plant has a very
acrid, bitter taste and a pungent smell.

Cultivation.--The plant may be readily propagated by means of seed, by
cuttings, by layers, and by division of the tufts. No special directions
are needed, except to say that when in the place they are to remain the
plants should be at least 18 inches apart--21 or 24 inches each way
would be even better. Rue does well on almost any well-drained soil, but
prefers a rather poor clayey loam. It is well, then, to plant it in the
most barren part of the garden. As the flowers are rather attractive,
rue is often used among shrubbery for ornamental purposes. When so grown
it is well to cut the stems close to the ground every two or three
years.



Uses.--Because of the exceedingly strong smell of the leaves, rue is
disagreeable to most Americans, and could not become popular as a
seasoning. Yet it is used to a small extent by people who like bitter
flavors, not only in culinary preparations, but in beverages. The whole
plant is used in distilling a colorless oil which is used in making
aromatic vinegars and other toilet preparations. A pound of oil may be
secured from 150 to 200 pounds of the plant.





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Previous: Rosemary



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