chartreuse flowers


Alchemilla mollis, Rosaceae

Another of the plants in my horticulture class list is the garden lady’s-mantle, used extensively here and around the world as ground cover and in herbaceous borders. One of the reasons why it is so popular here in Scotland is probably due to how interesting its foliage, which is water-repellent, looks when it’s covered in water drops, and a curious ethnobotany fact about this property is that what gives the name to the genus is actually the dew alchemists used to collect from the leaves to use in their experiments. Together with goat’s beard (Aruncus dioicus) and meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria), lady’s-mantle and its clusters of chartreuse small flowers provide a good example of how diverse the family the rose and the apple belong to, the Rosaceae, can be.  

Native to SE Europe and SW Asia, this hardy perennial was introduced to the British Isles as an ornamental in the second half of the XIX century and since then it has quickly naturalised to the point it is now almost ubiquitous, except for in Ireland. If you happen to encounter it in the wild, you can propagate it easily by collecting seeds, to be sown in spring, or by diving a mature plant. Other species of Alchemilla, A vulgaris and A. xanthochlora have traditionally been used as medicinal plants to treat a wide range of affections, but A. mollis is generally used mostly as an ornamental. Its young leaves, however, are reportedly edible, but quite astringent, as the they are rich in tannins.