Myrrhis Odorata – Sweet Cicely
A wonderful spring and early summer herb for planting with tulips and harvesting – the flowers, young leaves and seedpods – to add aniseedy flavours to salads. It also makes a delicious herb tea.
All parts of sweet cicely plants are edible. Although sweet cicely has been widely cultivated in past years and used to treat ailments such as stomachache and coughs, many herbalists think sweet cicely deserves more attention. You can cook the leaves like spinach, or add fresh leaves to salads. The stalks can be used much like celery, while the roots can be boiled or eaten raw. In the garden, sweet cicely plants are rich in nectar and highly valuable to beesand other beneficial insects.
The plants perform best in sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. An inch or two of compost or well-rotted manure gets sweet cicely off to a good start. Plant sweet cicely seeds directly in the garden in autumn, as the seeds germinate in spring after several weeks of cold winter weather followed by warm temperatures. While it’s possible to plant seeds in spring, the seeds must first undergo a period of chilling in the refrigerator before they will germinate. You can also divide mature plants in spring or autumn.