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Rue, known as the "Herb of Grace", is a native of the Mediterranean region. It is a wonderful ornamental plant for herb gardening. Rue has a nice mounding habit and small, very pungent evergreen leaves. Tiny yellow flowers grow above the attractive foliage. Rue will work nicely in an herb garden as well as a rock garden.
The herb's strong aromatic qualities make a great deterrent to most garden pests including deer, rabbits and slugs and its beautiful yellow flowers are a magnet for butterflies - it's even a host plant for Swallowtails! Rue is drought resistant and acts as an insect repellent, so it makes a great garden companion.
If you have sensitive skin be wary of planting Rue near walkways or where you may come into contact easily with it. In some cases people have developed blisters and welts from brushing against or handling fresh Rue, as the combination of essential oils and UV rays can cause Photodermititis.
Rue and Romance
Although most of our customers buy the Rue herb for its culinary value, we have had more than one frantic phone call over the past few years:
Lucky for them, we grow rue commercially for a number of Botanicas across the country, so we've usually go some on hand. We've been known to ship just a few sprigs from our own gardens. Wedding are important!
The one thing we've noticed, since we are not shy and are always interested in our customer's needs, it tends to be Eastern Europeans, more specifically Lithuanians, who are in need of this very important herb. So, we did a little research of our own:
According to The Baltic Times,"at the beginning of the 20th century, one of the country's most iconic and widely used symbols was rue. Rue - a perennial plant with a strong, heavy odor and bitter taste 's could be found in almost every Lithuanian garden. Rich with folklore and symbolism, the flower was widely seen as the embodiment of Lithuanian culture."
Although known as the "herb of grace", considered a flower of purity, it was used as a primitive means of birth control and the flower was thought to protect a girl from the unwanted consequences of "trampling a rue garden." Rue has been referred to as symbolizing patience and endurance, as it is a long-lived herb.
Since Rue symbolizes virginity and purity, it is important to wedding ceremonies and brides usually wore a wreath of rue. Rue is quite easy to work with (as long as you do NOT cut it and work with it in the SUN) – it can cause Phytophotodermatitis!
Rue is great for making wreaths. We found a Create Your Own Rue Wreath that gives you step by step directions. All you need to do it substitute the Strawflower and Rosemary for Rue. Make sure to cut the Rue when it is flowering so that you can mix its lovely, lacey dark green foliage with the bright yellow flowers!