Asperula orientalis – Asperula azurea – Woodruff


Asperula – Woodruff

There are about 100 species of mat or tufted annuals, evergreen or deciduous perennials and dwarf twiggy shrubs, in this genus.  They occur from woodland sites in Europe, Asia, and Australasian.  Most spread by underground rhizomes. They produce stalkless, narrow, opposite or whorls of 4 or more leaves.   In spring or summer they’re smothered in tiny tubular or funnel shaped flowers with widely spreading lobes are borne on branched, terminal or axillary panicles or cymes usually white, pale pink, or occasional yellow.  They often develop fragrance as the cut foliage dries out and some were used as strewing herbs.  One species yields a dye.

When grown outdoors place in sharply drained, moderately fertile soil in sun or partial shade.  All Asperula tolerant alkaline soil.  Protect from excessive winter moisture.  Divide in spring or autumn.

Prone to aphids and spider mites.

Asperula orientalis – Asperula azurea – This upright annual which later turns spreading is form the Caucasus, Syria, Iran, and Iraq and grows to 12” tall and spreads to 3-4” wide.  It produces whorls of egg to oblong shaped leaves to a 1” long.  In summer it bears flattened cymes of sweetly scented tubular bright blue occasional white flowers to 3/8” long.