Sweet Woodruff is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in woodlands and hedgerows, to a mature height of up to 30cm.
Sweet Woodruff is named after the scent of its leaves, likened to 'newly mown hay', which intensifies on harvesting. The scent comes from Coumarin, a toxic compound, which has traditionally been used as a flavouring and source of dye. Coumarin is currently used to make medicinal anticoagulants such as Warfarin and rat poison. The presence of established Sweet Woodruff can be an indicator of ancient woodland.
Botanic classification and naming: Sweet Woodruff is a member of the Madder (Rubiaceae) family. The genus name
'Galium' identifies the plant as a Bedstraw and its species name 'odoratum' means 'fragrant plant'.
Concerns: Sweet Woodruff contains Coumarin, which is moderately toxic to the liver and kidneys.
Benefits: Sweet Woodruff has nectar-rich flowers which are very attractive to pollinators.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.