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Ruta graveolens

Thomas Jefferson listed rue among his "Objects for the garden this year" in 1794.1 The seeds for the plant were offered by Bernard McMahon in 1804. In spite of its curious smell, rue was eaten in ancient times to preserve the eyesight, especially for artisans like painters and carvers who needed their sight for their livelihood.2 It was established in American gardens before the Revolutionary War due to its medicinal uses.3 It was used for antidote to poisons, animal bites and insect stings, and mixed with lavender, rosemary, sage, wormwood, and mint. This mixture added fragrance to the air, especially valued for the homes of the sick.4

Also known as Herb of Grace, rue is a shrubby, perennial herb with small, four-petaled flowers and showy, fragrant bluish-green leaves.

Further Sources

Visit Monticello’s Online Shop to check for seeds or plants of Rue.
Growth Type: 
Herbaceous Perennial Herb
Location at Monticello: 
Monticello Vegetable Garden
Planting Conditions: 
full sun
Blooming History: 
May 13, 2019


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