Sweet woodruff

Sweet woodruff has long been used in cooking and in making schnapps and spiced wine across most of Northern Europe. It has a high concentration of coumarin, which is one of the leading flavorings in cinnamon.

  • Where to Find It

    You can find sweet woodruff across most of Denmark. A hardy plant that likes moist topsoil, it prefers to grow where its leaves can turn to humus on the forest floor. Unlike many other herbs, it thrives in the shade, where it often weaves itself into a green blanket between the trees. Look for sweet woodruff in forests, hedges, parks, and on roadsides.

  • Salt marshes, deciduous forests, coniferous forests, towns, hedges, roadsides, grasslands.
  • When to Find It

    You can pick the entire plant from March until October, but it's especially aromatic and flavorful right before and during flowering. It typically blooms from May until July, but sometimes sweet woodruff will bloom until October.

  • Flowers: May, June, July, August, September, October.
    Entire plant: March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October.
  • How to Spot It

    Sweet woodruff can grow to be 15-25 cm tall and has a smooth stem and slender, tapered, spear-shaped leaves that grow in characteristic rings up along the stem. It has small, white flowers that cluster in small sets at the top of the herb. Its characteristic rings of eight leaves make it an easily recognizable herb.

  • How to Pick It

    Pick the whole flower right above the last ring of leaves so that the plant can continue to grow.

  • NB!

    The Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark recommend limited consumption. Sweet woodruff contains coumarin which when consumed in excess of 7 grams (for an adult of 70 kilos) raise health concerns.

Risk of misidentifying the plant

There is no risk of mistaking the plant for another dangerous or undesirable plant.