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Common Rue, Ruta graveolens

Common Rue, Ruta graveolens


Common Rue, an aromatic herb used for its medicinal properties, ornamental and wildlife value.

General Plant Information:

•Botanical Name: Ruta graveolens

•Common Name: Common Rue

•Native Range: Native to the Mediterranean region, Common Rue has been naturalized in various parts of the world, including North America. It thrives in warm climates and well-drained soils.

•Habitat: Common Rue is commonly cultivated in gardens, herb beds, and medicinal plant collections, where it adds beauty and functionality to the landscape. It is also grown as a decorative plant in rock gardens and borders.

•Size: Common Rue is a small perennial herb that typically reaches heights of 1 to 3 feet at maturity. It has bluish-green foliage with deeply divided leaves and produces clusters of small, yellow flowers in summer.

Medicinal Uses:

•Traditional Medicine: Common Rue has a long history of use in traditional herbal medicine, dating back to ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and Romans. It was believed to have various medicinal properties and was used to treat a range of ailments, including digestive disorders, menstrual cramps, and respiratory conditions.

•Antispasmodic: Rue is known for its antispasmodic properties, which may help relax smooth muscles and alleviate cramps and spasms in the digestive and reproductive systems.

•Topical Applications: Rue has been used topically to relieve minor skin irritations and insect bites. However, caution should be exercised when using rue externally, as it can cause skin irritation in some individuals.

Culinary Uses:

•Flavorful Leaves: While less common, Common Rue leaves can be used sparingly as a culinary herb to add a bitter, citrus-like flavor to dishes. However, due to its strong flavor and potential toxicity in large quantities, rue is not commonly used in modern cuisine.

Ornamental Value:

•Fragrant Foliage: In addition to its medicinal uses, Common Rue adds ornamental value to the garden with its aromatic foliage. The bluish-green leaves release a pleasant fragrance when brushed against or crushed, making rue a welcome addition to herb gardens and sensory landscapes.


•Sunlight and Watering: Common Rue thrives in full sun and well-drained soils. It is drought-tolerant once established and requires minimal watering. However, it is important not to overwater, as rue prefers slightly dry conditions.

•Pruning: Common Rue can be pruned back in early spring to promote bushier growth and remove any dead or diseased branches. Pruning also helps maintain the plant’s compact shape and overall health.

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