Meadowsweet

©Lizzie Wilberforce

Meadowsweet

Scientific name: Filipendula ulmaria
As its name suggests, Meadowsweet is a sweet-smelling flower of damp meadows, ditches and riverbanks. Look for frothy clusters of cream flowers on tall stems.

Species information

Statistics

Height: up to 1.25m

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June to September

About

Meadowsweet is a member of the rose family that favours wet habitats, such as ditches, damp meadows and riverbanks. Its leaves are sometimes covered with a bright orange rust fungus. It blooms from June to September, with sprays of tiny creamy-white flowers standing atop tall stems.
Its sweet smell encouraged people to display it in their houses in past times; but if crushed, it can smell more like antiseptic!

How to identify

Meadowsweet displays a 'froth' of creamy-white flowers, densely packed together in flower heads that sit on erect stems. Its dark green leaves are divided into pairs of leaflets and have silvery undersides.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The flowers of Meadowsweet are sometimes used in wine, beer and vinegar, or to give jams a subtle almond flavour. In fact, the common name of this plant likely arose as a result of it being used to flavour mead.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many wetland nature reserves for the benefit of the wildlife they support. You can help by supporting your local Trust and becoming a member; you'll find out about exciting wildlife news, events on your doorstep and volunteering opportunities, and will be helping local wildlife along the way.