Rue. There is much folklore behind this medicinal herb. The name Ruta comes from the Greek “reuo”, or ” to set free” and was noted in the Middle Ages as an anti-magical herb, used for warding off spirits and witches. It was once thought to have beneficial properties in aiding epilepsy, gout, insect bites and gas pains. The artists Michelangelo and da Vinci used it in an eye wash to improve eyesight.
Common Name: Rue, Herb of Grace
Latin Name: Ruta graveolens
Family: Rutacea- Citrus family. Interesting, I know!
Habit: Height: Approximately 3 feet.
Width: 2 to 3 feet.
Details: Prefers well drained soil. Full sun. Can reseed.
Rue’s rounded, lobed leaves are thought to have been the inspiration for the symbol for the suit of clubs on playing cards.
Up close, the flowers of this herb are interesting and unique. From afar, they create a soft yellow cloud. In my garden, this interesting plant creates a unique, ornamental hedge.
Important Notes: Rue is considered unsafe and is not recommended for internal use or consumption. Skin contact with the leaves and flowers can cause photo sensitivity and blistering.
(from Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, and The Eyewitness Handbook on Herbs by Lesley Bremness