Woodruff or Galium odoratum

Galium odoratum or Woodruff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Galium odoratum, the sweetscented bedstraw, is a flowering perennial plant in the family Rubiaceae, native to much of Europe from Spain and Ireland to Russia, as well as Western Siberia, Turkey, Iran, the Caucasus, China and Japan. It is also sparingly naturalized in scattered locations in the United States and Canada. It is widely cultivated for its flowers and its sweet-smelling foliage. A herbaceous plant, it grows to 30–50 cm (12–20 in) 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. It owes its sweet smell to the odiferous agent coumarin, and is sometimes used as a flavoring agent due to its chemical content.

Woodruff or Galium odoratum
Scientific classification:
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Gentianales
Family: Rubiaceae
Genus: Galium
Species: G. odoratum
Binomial name: Galium odoratum


As the epithet odoratum suggests, the plant is strongly scented, the sweet scent being derived from coumarin. This scent increases on wilting and then persists on drying, and the dried plant is used in potpourri and as a moth deterrent. It is also used, mainly in Germany, to flavour May wine (called “Maibowle” or “Maitrank” in German), sweet juice punch, syrup for beer (Berliner Weisse), brandy, jelly, jam, a soft drink (Tarhun, which is Georgian), ice cream, and herbal tea. Also very popular are Waldmeister flavoured jellies, with and without alcohol.[11] In Germany it is also used to flavour sherbet powder, which features prominently in Günter Grass’ novel The Tin Drum.

Bibliographic details for “Galium odoratum”
Page name: Galium odoratum
Author: Wikipedia contributors
Publisher: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Date of last revision: 30 November 2017 22:03 UTC
Date retrieved: 8 December 2017 23:01 UTC
Permanent link: https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Galium_odoratum&oldid=812957613
Primary contributors: Revision history statistics
Page Version ID: 812957613