Sweet woodruff is a mat-forming perennial that is most often grown as a ground cover in shady areas. Plants typically grow 8-12″ tall and feature fragrant, lance-shaped, dark green leaves in whorls of 6-8 along square stems. Small, fragrant, 4-petaled, white flowers appear in spring. Can be somewhat aggressive in optimum growing conditions. On the other hand, plants may go dormant by mid-summer if improperly grown in dry, sunny locations. Plants emit a strong odor of freshly mown hay when foliage is crushed or cut. Aromatic intensity of the foliage increases when dried, thus dried leaves are popularly used in sachets or potpourris. Plants have also been used commercially in perfumes. Leaves are sometimes used to flavor teas and cold fruit drinks. Leaves are also used to make May wine, a punch made from white wine flavored with woodruff, orange and pineapple. Woodruff comes from Old English meaning wood that unravels, in probable reference to the creeping rootstock of the plant.
Easily grown in average, medium to wet, well-drained soils. Spreads by both creeping roots and self-seeding.
Mat-forming, spreading habit.
Light green, fragrant foliage.
Tiny, four-petaled white flowers appear in spring.