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|Galium odoratum in flower - Sweet Woodruff|
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- Cultivation: Easy-To-Grow
- Light: Dappled, Part-Shade, Shade
- Soil: Rich, Mid-Fertility
- pH: 7
- Moisture: Wet, Medium
- Form: Groundcover, Herbaceous
- Habit: Evergreen
- Flower: Medium
- Fruit/Seed: Small
- Foliage: Leaves
- Uses: Edible, Medicinal, Ornamental
Galium odoratum is a Perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae, native to Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.
A Herbaceous plant, it grows to 30-50 cm (12-20 ins.) long, often lying flat on the ground or supported by other plants. Its Vernacular names include woodruff, sweet woodruff, and wild baby's breath; master of the woods would be a literal translation of the German Waldmeister. It is sometimes confused with Galium triflorum and Galium verum.
This plant prefers partial to full shade in moist, rich soils. In dry summers it needs frequent irrigation. Propagation is by Crown division, separation of the rooted stems, or digging up of the barely submerged perimeter Stolons. It is ideal as a groundcover or border accent in woody, acidic gardens where other shade plants fail to thrive. Deer avoid eating it (Northeast US).
High doses can cause headaches, due to the toxicity of Coumarin. Very high doses of coumarin can cause vertigo, Somnolence or even central paralysis and Apnoea while in a Coma. Since 1981, Galium odoratum may no longer be used as an ingredient of industrially produced drinks and food stuffs in Germany; it has been replaced by artificial aromas and colorings.