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Achillea ageratum (English Mace)

Achillea ageratum (English Mace)

 

English Mace is from the family Asteraceae. 

Perhaps named because of the shape of the flower cluster at the top of the stem, with reference to the word Mace.

A native of Switzerland it was supposedly discovered in 1798. English Mace can be found being cultivated in most northern temperate countries. From what I have seen from various sources the herb is not well known and to my knowledge is only used for culinary purposes. Having said that the plant was supposedly named after Achilles, whom of which discovered some form of medicinal properties, there is no real proof of this to date…

 

Varieties

This one only as far as we know.

It is a hardy perennial growing from 30 – 45cm in height and spreading to around 30cm.

Culinary uses

The chopped or torn leaves have a mild flavour and are good for use with poultry like chicken. Stews, salads, pasta or rice dishes are best and it combines well with other herbs.

Medicinal uses

None confirmed as yet.

Other uses

Dried decoration.

Cultivation

Cuttings can be taken but ensure that you do this later in the summer if the weather is still very warm. A standard compost will be fine, once the roots have taken for it to stand well you can plant out in the garden. The plant can also be divided during spring or autumn. Watch out for frost when planting out even though it is hardy. It does not really suffer from pests or diseases.

The herb does not need protection in winter once established, just cut away any dead flowers from late summer to autumn. It can be planted in any soil we have found it to even do well in heavy clay. Cutting the flowers early keeps fresh leaves coming back like most herbs to get a constant eating supply. If the area is exposed to wind the plant may need support. Make sure if you want to plant in a container that the pot is wide enough if you want to to reach maximum size when flowering, remembering a well drained potting medium or even soil from the garden that you know has worked already, water well during summer.

The leaves can be frozen or dried and either are good.

Harvesting

 

Notes

Not to be confused with mace, as it is the outer husk of the nutmeg.

 

 

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