Open-pollinated. A lovely ground cover for shaded areas, its whorls of pointed leaves covered with clusters of tiny snowy-white spring flowers. Vanilla-scented leaves are essential in Maybowl, a traditional German punch, and also used in potpourris. In these times of high vanilla prices, try steeping leaves in brandy for an acceptable vanilla-extract substitute.
Said to be helpful for migraine, nervous conditions and stomach pain. Drying increases its clover fragrance. A classic strewing herb in the Middle Ages used to purify the church, dining hall and bedrooms with its coumarin-rich fragrance. Sow outdoors in a woodland site or in a heavy layer of well-rotted leaf mulch. Can be very slow to germinate—up to 200 days—and then may not be visible right away because the plants grow by underground rhizomes. Be patient—woodruff will appear the following spring and grow 6–8" tall and spread. Perennial, Zone 5. ~160 seeds/g. ③