Myrrhis odorata (Sweet Cicely)

Full Sun
Light/Partial Shade
Soil Type:
Most Types

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See full plant description below.

Plant Details

A British native and a graceful plant with finely cut ferny leaves and broad flat heads of white flowers in late spring and early summer. The leaves and seeds are aniseed-scented.

Traditionally grown near the kitchen door, where its prettily divided fern-like leaves were at hand for sweetening tart fruit. 

The stems and roots are sweet tasting and have historically been used to fend off plague and to fortify against age. The seeds were also used to polish floors and impart a myrrh-like aroma to the establishment.

From Gerard's Herball (first printed 1597):

It is used very much among the Dutch people in a kinde of Loblolly or hotchpot which they do eat, called Warmus. The leaves of sweet Chervill are exceeding good, wholesome and pleasant among other sallad herbs, giving the taste of Anise seed unto the rest.

The seeds eaten as a sallad whiles they are yet green, with oile, vineger, and pepper, exceed all other sallads by many degrees, both in pleasantnesse of taste, sweetnesse of smell, and wholsomnesse for the cold and feeble stomacke. The roots are likewise most excellent in a sallad, if they be boiled and afterwards dressed as the cunning Cooke knoweth how better than my selfe: notwithstanding I use to eat them with oile and vineger, being first boiled; which is very good for old people that are dull and without courage: it rejoiceth and comforteth the heart, and increaseth their lust and strength. 


Height x Spread: 1.5m x 90cm

Common name(s): Sweet Cicely, British Myrrh, Sweet Bracken, Sweet Chervil, Wild Anise, Sweet Fern


Photo: Hectonichus, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

All our plants are supplied in 9x10cm pots unless otherwise specified. Plants in this size pot establish quickly in the garden and often outpace plants in bigger pots planted at the same time. We do not sell 'plug plants' because those need to be grown on before planting. Our potted plants can be planted immediately, unless otherwise noted, or you can leave them in their pots until you are ready to plant. We grow everything we sell ourselves, in our nursery in the Buckinghamshire countryside.