Alchemilla Mollis, Lady’s Mantle

Ilona Erwin

Alchemilla Mollis, Pleasant Partner-

Experienced gardeners often rave over Alchemilla mollis. It is also a favorite among flower arrangers. Perhaps the velvety green leaves with their full moon scalloped edged shape, or maybe the fine filigree filler of the flowers that are the distinct chartreuse color that is bright, yet blends so well. Whatever the draw, this is a very choice plant for your garden.

Such pretty leaves

Such pretty leaves

Photographers and gardeners alike are fascinated by the way dewdrops glisten in perfect little globules on the leaf surface. Like tiny reflecting globes scattered across its surface

[The look]

botanical drawing

botanical drawing

The leaves are its biggest attraction:scalloped dishes of green with a peach fuzz texture. They grow in a low mound shape. The flowers are a chartreuse to yellow color which match up exactly with Ruta graveolens, herb of grace; a froth of foam atop stiff stems that don’t quite seem able to carry them.

[The needs]

Easy to grow – everyone says so, and amenable to both sunny and shady situations, this is a flower that I first met in the books of famous English gardeners. That meant I had to grow it just to see what all the fuss was about. In my drier conditions it is not as prone to romp, but holds it’s own. Average soil in moist and well-drained position, it will grow best with some shade. It doesn’t care to dry out, so keep it watered in dry weather; mulch also is welcomed by Lady’s Mantle.

The small yellow-green flowers of lady's mantle

The small yellow-green flowers of lady's mantle*

[Use and Companions]

In cottage gardens, herb gardens, and shade gardens, Alchemilla mollis may have a home. It is an old fashioned favorite, and yet its color is modern. Favored for cut flowers due to their mellowing and blending visual qualities, they are perfect filler flowers and the leaves create interest. Try them as edgers, or a different kind of groundcover, although they are not evergreen; most of the seasons of the year the Lady’s mantle will provide a weed suppressing cover under crabapple, or other small, trees. I like this choice plant in partnership with meadow sweet, which blends in colors and flowers, but has a different leaf structure of fine filigree.

I called Alchemilla a pleasant partner because it goes so well with other plants, yet without losing its own personality.

[Fun Facts]

The root and leaves are said to be edible, but I haven’t tried them; it also has medicinal uses: a healing herb for women, it contains salicylic acid and has sedative properties.

The whole herb is gathered in June and July when in flower and when the leaves are at their best, and dried. The root is used fresh.

“Lady’s-mantle has been used very little in the kitchen. The young leaves can be added to tossed salads as a bitter accent. In northern England at Easter time, leaves of lady’s-mantle, bistort (Polygonum bistorat) and lady’s-thumb (Persicaria vulgaris) were mixed with oatmeal and barley and boiled in a bag to make an herb pudding known as Easter mangiant.” –Herb Companion

The legend of the Lady’s Mantle follows that a medieval princess fell helplessly in love with a young serf. Upon hearing of the romance, the king imprisoned the fair maiden; in his grief, the serf would walk the fields each morning and gather the leaves of the Lady’s Mantle where his lover’s tears had fallen.

The name Lady’s Mantle in German ~Frauenmantle,~ was first given by the 16th-century botanist, Jerome Bock, known by the Latin version of his name; ~Tragus.~ It appears under this name in his famous History of Plants, published in 1532, and Linnaeus adopted it.

Lady’s Mantle was carried to attract love

Advice on Lady Mantle from renowned Tracy DiSabato-Aust

*small photo of flower by Eric Hardy
large photo by Linda N.

More About Lady’s Mantle

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Ilona Erwin, author

Meet the Author

Ilona Erwin

I started working on this website beginning in 1998, when it was part of Ilona's Reflecting Pool. Since then I've branched out into a number of online endeavors and work at writing lots of content for my sites. "Ilona's Garden" remains my primary site and is dedicated to home gardener's success.