Alchemilla xanthochlora DEW CUP
Pretty flowers for garden & vase
Frothy lime heads to 30cm. foam in bunches over the prettiest mounds of cupped and fringed leaves.
Alchemilla xanthochlora Dew Cup is particularly long blooming, beginning in late spring and continuing for some four months well into autumn.
The clouds of flower bunches make very pretty cut flowers in a vase, where they last well.
Forms a neat, round foliage mound, with each leaf catching dew drops to form beads round the fringed edge.
Alchemilla foliage makes dewy and frosty mornings a sparkling special experience.
Groundcover & edges
Use as an attractive groundcover. One plant will slowly spread to cover the ground with pretty foliage, but for a more instant effect and cover – plant several clumps close together.
Or plant as a very pretty edge along a path in a shaded garden.
Makes pretty underplanting for deep red or yellow roses, or under trees and shrubs.
Where to plant
Preferred position is in ½ Shade, Dappled Sunlight or Morning Sun. Will scorch in full sun, except in the coolest of areas.
Not in the slightest bit frost tender. Frost hardy to very low minus temperatures.
Copes with clay soil well, as well as being happy in average garden soil
Though the leaves are so fresh, soft and inviting, rabbits and deer tend to treat them with ignore. Perhaps it is the astringent flavour, or the critters have not read the recipe for “Bitter Pudding”.
In traditional British village life from centuries past – young Alchemilla leaves were gathered and combined with other field leaves to make a dish called “Bitter Pudding”. I think a fairly astringent culinary experience, but perhaps a good source of much needed vitamins and minerals back then. Devotees of herbal teas still enjoy Alchemilla leaves today as it is grown as a commercial crop for tea making.
Historic medicinal uses
Alchemilla also has centuries of history in European traditional cultures as herbal medicine.
The whole Alchemilla family gained their name because they were such favourites, and considered powerful magic, by the Alchemists of ancient times. it was reputed to be able to turn base metal into gold. Alchemilla xanthochlora is believed to be the original Alchemist’s useful medicinal plant.
Cuts and wounds were treated with poultices of leaves, stems and roots; while teas and infusions were used to help with diarrhoea and “ladies difficulties”, particularly during childbirth. Freshly squeezed juice was the teenagers friend in the treatment of acne.
Myths and legends
In some country areas it was believed dewdrops gathered from the leaves early in the morning and given to maidens to drink, would ensure they went to the altar as virgins. No comment as to its’ effectiveness. This practice carried well into the twentieth century in very traditional areas of Europe.
– Height with flowers: 20cm approx.
– Width: 30cm – 60cm approx. per plant.
– Position: Partial Shade, Woodland, Dappled Sun under trees and shrubs. Will tolerate Full Sun if mulched, but Part Shade is preferred.
– Soil: Tolerates clay, even heavy clay which can be soggy at times. Can also thrive in light, sandy soils but here it is more difficult to provide preferred moisture levels. Perfectly happy in normal average garden loam. Tolerates both acid and lime alkaline soils, but will appreciate a handful of lime in acid soils.
– Frost: Very hardy in even hard frosts.
– Growth: Evergreen Perennial.
– Beneficial to wildlife: Alchemilla blossoms provide both nectar and pollen for bees, other pollinators and beneficial insects, as well as butterflies.
– Beware: The plant should not be eaten during pregnancy. Please consult your medical adviser before using as herbal medicine.
– Care: Minimal. Foliage mounds can be sheared back hard if you wish to promote fresh growth. Otherwise just leave them to get on with it. Occasional extra watering in hot, dry periods.
– Deer & Rabbit resistant: Rabbits and deer do not find it palatable.
– Origin: Native habitat is in meadows, open woods, and rock ledges in mountainous areas of Europe, from Spain in the south to Norway in the north, and as far east as Bulgaria. So a truly adaptable and hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of climates and conditions.