Alchemilla mollis

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Alchemilla mollis
Alchemilla mollis ies.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Alchemilla
Species: A. mollis
Binomial name
Alchemilla mollis
(Buser) Rothm.
Alchemilla mollis as ground cover

Alchemilla mollis, Lady's Mantle, is an herbaceous perennial plant native to southern Europe and grown throughout the world as an ornamental garden plant. It grows 30 to 45 cm (12 to 18 in) tall, with leaves that are palmately veined, with a scalloped and serrated margin. The chartreuse yellow flowers are held in dense clusters above the foliage. This plant,[1] together with a similar but dwarf variety, A. erythropoda,[2] has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

According to some accounts, Lady's Mantle has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy. According to other authorities it has never been used medicinally, but has been confused with two species that have a history of medicinal use: A. alpina (Alpine lady's mantle) and A. xanthoclora.[3]

The plant is often grown as a ground cover, and is especially valued for the leaves in wet weather, as the water beads and sparkles on the leaves. This is due to the remarkable dewetting properties of the leaves, whereby the contact force between the water and the leaf is so disfavoured that a thin layer of air penetrates the solid-liquid interface. These beads of water were considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water. They utilised this water in their quest to turn base metal into gold. Hence the name Alchemilla. The plant self-seeds freely, and can become invasive.

Alchemilla mollis showing effect of water on leaves

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Alchemilla mollis AGM". RHS Plant Finder. Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  2. ^ "Alchemilla erythropoda AGM". RHS Plant Finder. Royal Horticultural Society. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  3. ^ Gardner, Jo Ann; Holly S. Dougherty (2005). Herbs in Bloom: A Guide to Growing Herbs as Ornamental Plants. Timber Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-88192-698-9.