Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria

Status Green - Least concern
Best Time to See June, July, August, September
Colour
Habitat Wetland

'Caught in her slowly unravelling plait of grey hair were summer seeds: meadowsweet, bastard balm, tokens of honesty' - Kathleen Jamie, 'Meadowsweet'

Frothy and cream-white with a sweet, pleasant smell.

The Tudor herbalist and botanist John Gerard called this wild flower the "Queene of the medowes" and described how it was used to scent people's houses and "delighteth the senses". When crushed meadowsweet's odour is more antiseptic - possibly befitting a plant in which aspirin is found.

Identification

Flowers are cream coloured and densely clustered. Its long-stalked leaves are pinnate (or "feather-like") consisting of pairs of large, toothed leaflets in between which are tiny versions - scarcely half a centimetre in length.

Distribution

Meadowsweet is found across Britain.

Habitat

This wild flower prefers damp conditions, although not sites that are permanently waterlogged. Look out for it in meadows, fens, road verges and on railway banks.

Did you know?

  • Despite being known as the "Queen of the Meadow", this wild flower's name doesn't actually derive from where it grows. In Anglo-Saxon times it was known as medowyrt - the "medo" referring to meodu the Old English word for mead as it was often used to flavour the drink.
  • In contrast, in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, meadowsweet is known as crios Chu-chulainn: the belt of mythological hero of Ulster, Cú Chulainn.
  • Meadowsweet has a number of medicinal uses including against headache; it is a traditional hangover remedy.

How is Plantlife helping?

Saving the places it grows such as meadows (through Magnificent Meadows and Coronation Meadows) and road verges (through our Road Verge Campaign).

Help protect Meadowsweet:

Support Plantlife's Road Verge Campaign

Road verge, Sherborne, Dorset 1800 banner.jpg

Road Verge Campaign

Rural road verges are a vital refuge for wildflowers. In turn, wildflowers support our birds, bees and other wildlife. Sign our petition to keep our road verges safe for wildlife.

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