Sunday, July 5, 2009

Lady's Mantle - Alchemilla mollis

Lady's Mantle is an herbaceous perennial. It does well in my zone 5a garden! I needed a plant to shade the roots of my clematis. I chose Lady's Mantle for its ability to grow in a semi-shaded area and for its almost inconspicuous leaves and flowers. It is not a plant that you will notice right away when you come to my garden. But that is what I like about it. Here you can see it with clematis flowers peeking through. This plant is way in the back of my garden and it is difficult for me to get close enough to take a photo.

Lady's Mantle leaves are large and palmately veined with a lobed and serrated edge. They are a beautiful blue-green colour that blends nicely with other foliage in the garden. This bluish colour has given this plant it's common name of Lady's Mantle. It is named for the Virgin Mary's cloak. After a rain or early in the morning, droplets of water will sit on the leaves. The plants' ability to have water pool on its leaves like that has given it its botanical name - Alchemilla. Early alchemists believed that these little droplets of water were the purest form of liquid and used it in their quest to turn base metals into gold. Folk lore has it that these droplets were used by early women as a facial application. The roots are supposedly edible. This plant has been used for all sorts of medicinal reasons, including menstrual irregularities, bruises and sores and digestive disorders. The chartreuse flowers are held in dense clusters above the leaves. I love this lime-green colour! This plant may not be loud and showy, but it is one of my favourites. Apparently it can become invasive, but mine has never been a problem.

Family: Rosaceae. Genus: Alchemilla. Species: A. mollis
Common Name: Lady's Mantle

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