Sweet Woodruff s the perfect perennial for those shady spots where it can spread and display its fragrant white flowers in spring. Leaves arranged in a star shape appear first in early spring, followed by tiny starry flowers in April and May.
This low-growing perennial makes a fantastic carpet-like ground cover under trees and shrubs where little else will thrive – or use it to camouflage the foliage of spring blooming bulbs as they fade.
The plant contains the plant chemical coumarin and when it is dried smells like a cross between freshly-mown hay and vanilla. It is this aromatic quality that give it the scientific name odoratum. This scent increases on wilting and then persists on drying. It has long been valued for potpourris and perfumes and is a favorite in both sleep and moth repellant sachets. It was once used to stuff mattresses and pillows (hence the common name name bedstraw).
In Germany, it has long been used to craft May Wine, and also craft a woodruff-flavored sugar syrup used to balance the lactic acidity of a spritzy Berliner Weisse.