June 6, 2009
Sweet Cicily from my own garden on top, below from the garden of Rie and NO
I have to realise, that the to me so familiar Sweet Cicily is not the normal type, because it is utterly smooth. If I look it up in the Danish Flora by E. Rostrup, I read it should be downy, just like in the garden of Rie and NO.
In old drawings you can also just notice the downy hairs
In the district where I was born, I never saw any but smooth Sweet Cicily. Now I’ve been looking around in that area again, in my brothers garden and in the garden of Merete and Ejner, only the smooth version is known. It seems the smooth version is the only known in that area, nobody have heard of a downy version. And where I’ve met the standard downy version, people have never heard of a amooth version !
How is your Sweet Cicily ??? Please let me know !
My question is, wether the smooth Sweet Cicily is a variety or a different species? Apparently there is only a single species in the family of Myrrhis, it ought to be a variety (or could I be mistaken by the family Myrrhis ?) Could it be a type imported to the monastery gardens in catholic times, and from there spread to apothecary gardens, vicarage gardens and cottage gardens ?
In the kitchen I find the smooth version more appealing, as it washes more readily.
Did you know, that Sweet Cicily is effective againt fungal infections like Candida albicans ?
May 3, 2008
Sweet CicilyMyrrhis odorata
Normally this is a quite hairy plant, but my version is hairless. I originates in the woods near Herlufsholm, a former benedictine monatery, Skovkloster (1135). It’s about 20 years ago I collected some seeds from a large clump at the edge of the wood. Ever since it has followed me in the different gardens I have had. It also grew in the hedge of garden of my childhood, not far from the monastery, also the hairless variant. Not until I saw the normal hairy form in a schoolgarden in Copenhagen did I understand I could be different.
Every garden should grow a few plants of Sweet Cicily. All parts are edible, both root, leaves, stalks and unripe seeds. When seed ripen to brown, I no longer enjoy them, since they get fibrous and unpleasant. Sweet Cicily thrives in the shadier parts of the garden many find difficult to grow well.
It is propagated by seeds, sown same autumn or very early spring (march or earlier), as it is shortlived and need to rest in the winters frost to grow well. It is a perenniel, starting very early in spring, when fresh delicious leaves are wellcome in the kitchen. It is hard on ground-elder, and could be tried to control the groud-elder. As a weed Sweet Cicily is easy to control, as it only propagates by seed, and plants are easy to dig up with no resprouting.
It has a sweet taste of anis/licorice, can even be used as a sweetener. Green unripe seeds are irresistible when passing by in the garden.