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Botanical Name : Alchemilla alpina
Habitat :Alchemilla alpina is native to western and northern Europe. It grows on the meadows, pastureland and woodland clearings, mainly on acid soils.
Alchemilla alpina is a perennial plant with a woody rhizome growing to a height of between 5 and 20 cm (2 and 8 in). The weak stems are silkily hairy and grow from a basal rosette and the leaves are palmate with about seven lanceolate leaflets with toothed tips, smooth above and densely hairy underneath. There are alternate pairs of leaves on the stems and the inflorescence forms a dense cyme. The flowers are lime green with four sepals, no petals, four stamens and a solitary carpel. They are hermaphrodite and the seeds develop apomictically without being fertilised. The flowers begin to bloom in June and fade in September and their seeds can be collected from August to October.
Because the seeds develop without cross fertilisation, any mutations that may occur gradually cause cumulative changes to populations and there are a great many very similar species of lady’s-mantle, sometimes called micro-species. Alpine lady’s-mantle is easily distinguished from other lady’s-mantles by the fact that its leaves have clearly separate leaflets while other species have neatly pleated leaves.
Easily grown in ordinary soil in sun or part shade. Prefers a well-drained acid soil. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Succeeds in dry shade. Plants in this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Suitable for cut flowers, Inconspicuous flowers or blooms.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 3 – 4 weeks at 16°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on a cold frame for their first winter, planting out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. The divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we find it best to pot them up and keep them in a sheltered position until they are growing away well.
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.
The following uses are for A. vulgaris. They quite probably also apply for this species. Young leaves – raw or cooked. A dry, somewhat astringent flavour. They can be mixed with the leaves of Polygonum bistorta and Polygonum persicaria then used in making a bitter herb pudding called ‘Easter ledger’ which is eaten during Lent. Root – cooked. An astringent taste. The leaves are used commercially in the blending of tea.
Lady’s mantle has a long history of herbal use, mainly as an external treatment for cuts and wounds, and internally in the treatment of diarrhoea and a number of women’s ailments, especially menstrual problems. This plant, the alpine ladies mantle, has been shown to be more effective in its actions[238, 268]. The herb is alterative, antirheumatic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, sedative, styptic, tonic and vulnerary. The leaves and flowering stems are best harvested as the plant comes into flower and can then be dried for later use. The fresh root has similar and perhaps stronger properties to the leaves, but is less often used. The plant is rich in tannin and so is an effective astringent and styptic, commonly used both internally and externally in the treatment of wounds. It helps stop vaginal discharge and is also used as a treatment for excessive menstruation and to heal lesions after pregnancy. Prolonged use can ease the discomfort of the menopause and excessive menstruation. The freshly pressed juice is used to help heal skin troubles such as acne and a weak decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
Other Uses: Landscape Uses:Alpine garden, Border, Container, Ground cover, Rock garden.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
- A Garden on the Move (erinbartels.com)