Lemon Verbena

lemonverbenaLippia citriodora

A fragrant, perennial shrub from south America. It can grow to a height of 5 ft if planted in a warm, sheltered spot, but can also be grown indoors as a pot plant. This herb can survive in poor, dry soil, but needs to be protected from harsh winter weather.

    Uses: In midsummer, lemon verbena produces masses of pale purple or white flowers. Its slender green leaves smell strongly of lemon and they can be used fresh in fruit salads, punches and fruit cups, or dried and added to pot pourris. The leaves can also be added to home-made ice creams or used to flavor oils and vinegars. Add the leaves sparingly as they have a powerful flavor. Oil extracted from lemon verbena leaves is widely used by perfumers. This plant is also known as Herb Louisa.

      Medicinal: A mouthwash made from an infusion of lemon verbena is said to strengthen gums and help prevent tooth decay.

      Legends: Dried lemon verbena leaves keep their scent for years and are ideal for pot pourri mixtures.