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Sweet Cicely.

Date: Mon, 6 May 1996 09:14:00 MDT
To: The Culinary Herbs & Spices List <HERBS.HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM>
From: Margaret Lauterbach <mlaute.MICRON.NET>
Subject: Sweet Cicely

Subscribers to "herbs" who don't have the herb sweet cicely, should grow it. It's a perennial which also seeds rather freely, but who cares? The foliage is fern-like, and beautiful until grasshoppers move in. The foliage is also delicious to both grasshoppers and humans. It has a sweet anise flavor, and would be fine chopped over a fruit salad. It grows to about 15 inches tall in my yard (zone 5, by the way), and seems to prefer some shade, but does okay in full sun, too. Moderate water requirements. I nosh on the leaves while working in the yard, and that's a treat I look forward to all winter.

Botanically it's Myrrhis odorata (some seed sources call it myrrh).

It's difficult to start from seed, some say (wet towels in the frig), but it reseeds easily by itself.


From: "Susan L. Nielsen" <snielsen.OREDNET.ORG>

> Subscribers to herbs who don't have the herb sweet cicely, should grow it. It's a perennial which also seeds rather freely, but who cares?

Yes! Whew! Rough count, 264.333 offspring each spring. ;-) But they dig out easily in the spring weeding, smell good while you're doing it, and they don't seem to come back during the summer -- it's a springtime thing, this explosion of Cicelies.

>I nosh on the leaves while working in the yard, and that's a treat I look forward to all winter.

Ha! I do this, too -- it amuses the neighbors. The rabbits really like the spring thinnings, too.

>difficult to start from seed, some say (wet towels in the frig),

This is shocking information!

I pass these around by potting up some of the best seedlings each spring. Lots of people have never seen it, and are charmed. I am charmed, too, actually, as it's one of my favorites.


From: Colette Dunkley <gb81.DIAL.PIPEX.COM>

>difficult to start from seed, some say (wet towels in the frig),

I nearly put my back out trying to dig out a sweet cicely plant I had in my garden and up rooted a large rose bush in the process. The roots are as thick as a mans thigh in a mature plant and go very deep. After three years the seedlings are still coming up and I whisk them out double quick.

And to think this herb is meant o be a rejuvenator. It nearly killed me!


From: "Susan L. Nielsen" <snielsen.OREDNET.ORG>

>> It's difficult to start from seed, some say (wet towels in the frig)>
>Could you please explain that a bit more? I've tried to grow sweet cicely 3 times from seed and never succeeded yet. Please help cause I'd love to grow this herb.

The seeds require a period of chilling before germination. That's why there are zillions of self-sown seedlings in the spring, but none all summer long even though the seeds have fallen and are lying in the soil waiting for a chance to germinate. In this case, I'm not sure what the critical period or temperature is, but in the past when I have had seed that needed a good chill before waking up, I've put them in the icebox in the fall and taken them out again in early spring. They don't know a freezer compartment is fake winter, and start off happily once in the soil.


From: Margaret Lauterbach <mlaute.MICRON.NET>

> Could you please explain that a bit more? I've tried to grow sweet cicely 3 times from seed and never succeeded yet. Please help cause I'd love to grow this herb.

Just talked to my friend at the herb nursery. She said she put seeds between damp paper towels, then into plastic bag, and into the refrigerator. In about two weeks she started checking for germination, and when each was beginning to germinate, she removed that seed and planted it in soilless planting mix. Once you get started, you can easily grow more from the seed (when it turns black and is easily removed, scatter it on bare ground and step on it).


Culinary herb FAQ: http://www.henriettesherbal.com/faqs/culi-2-37-sweet-cicely.html


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