Nature's Secret Larder - Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)


Bushcraft Blog

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)
25th July 2009

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)

Avoid if you suffer with asthma. It’s also not recommended for children under 12 due to salicylate content (risk of Reye's syndrome).


Meadowsweet flowers

Meadowsweet Leaves

Mid-summer is best time to go and look for Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria, a relatively common plant of damp areas such as ditches marshes and the edges of cliffs.

It has an almost misty appearance of cream coloured flowers and a scent which is second to none. This misty appearance resembles wedding dresses, hence a common name of Bridewort.  I find that people often ignore it though, as, at a distance it does blend in with umbelifers which at that time of year would be past their best.

FLOWERS – A quick sniff of the flowers is enough to make anyone smile, but the best use for these flowers is to add them to homebrews to boost the flavour and add natural yeasts.  The flowers also make a good addition to deserts, especially if added to summer fools.  A lovely herbal tea may also be enjoyed by using the flowers.  July is the time to harvest Meadowsweet and a substance known as salicylic acid can be obtained from them. Salicylic acid is where the synthesised aspirin comes from and some people find a quick nibble of the flowers brings relief to minor complaints such as headaches.

LEAVES - Once dried are often added to herbal teas as a sweetener, and they are also quite nice if added to soups or stews.

ROOTS – A brown/black dye is obtained from the roots of meadowsweet, and they may also be used as a herbal tea or as a basic vegetable once cooked.


Kris on 30/07/12

Hi Lee,

It tends to grow in wet ground, swamps, marshes, fens, wet woods and meadows, wet rock ledges on cliffs and by most rivers. It tends not to grow if the soil drains easily.

The usualy key is to look for the leaves, as when not in flower most will over-look it.

I hope this helps a bit.


Lee Wakeham on 25/07/12


I have been looking every where for this flower. I live in Dover, Kent and walk on the cliff tops and all over the country side including woodlands, but have not had any luck finding the meadowsweet yet. Is this flower un common in the South East of Kent?



Kris on 13/05/10


I will try and get some more images next time im out.


Rachel Ooi on 27/04/10

Can you show us the whole plant? Because it is not very clear by seeing partially.
Thank you.

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