Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sweet Cicely, Myrrhis odorata

 Sweet Cicely 
 Myrrhis odorata (Umbelliferae)
I have Buckley's chance of being able to grow this herb well but it is worth a shot. I bought this at the recent Collectors' Plant Fair and a lady next to me who was buying one also told me she was from Bathurst so she has a much better crack at growing it successfully.
 Sweet Cicely is a European shade loving perennial which is stimulated to grow well by a certain amount of snow cover over winter. Move to Scotland I hear you say? Snow has the effect of scarifying any fallen seed thus aiding germination and when the snow melts the trigger for growth is manifest. It is said to be the last herb to die down before winter with the foliage first reacting to the cold by turning purple. As a flavouring herb Cicely has a mild sweet flavour of aniseed or liquorice. All parts are edible including the roots which can be cooked as a vegetable. I have a 'food memory' of it from over thirty years ago. When visiting Madge Hooper at Stoke Lacey Herb Farm in Bromyard, Herefordshire, I was given the green seeds to chew on. They were sweet and very pleasant tasting. It has been a long wait to finally get my hands on a plant for however long I am able to keep it alive.

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