University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Perennial of the Month - January 1999

Alchemilla mollis

(al-kah-mill' ah moll' liss)

Common name: Common Lady’s Mantle

Family: Rosaceae, Rose

Height x Width: 10-12" tall x 18-24" wide (with taller flower stems)

Growth Rate: moderate

Foliage: Light gray-green, pubescent. The basal leaves are orbicular in shape and 2-4" wide. Individual leaves are palmately veined and have from 7 to 11 shallow-toothed lobes.

Flowers: Apetalous (without petals), ¼" wide, chartreuse, early summer.

Hardiness: Zones 4-7

Soil: moist, fertile

Light: partial shade, but can take more sun in cooler climates as long as there is adequate moisture.

Pests & Problems: None serious in the north. In the south, fungus may be a problem if irrigation water is allowed to it in the crown of the plant.

Landscape Habit, Uses: Lady’s mantle looks great as a shady ground cover or in the overall scheme of a shady border. The chartreuse flowers are complemented nicely by blues such as ‘Johnson’s Blue’ Geranium and the gray-green fuzzy leaves of Stachys. After a rainstorm or heavy dew, the leaves seem to shimmer with little droplets of water.

Other Interest: Genus name is from the Arabic name for the plant, alkemelych. The water droplets gathering in the leaves were known by the ancients as "celestial water" and used in alchemy, hence intimately related to this study. The common name is likely from the ancient legend of it being used to adorn the Virgin Mary. Native to Turkey and the Carpathian Mountains. Functionally this plant has been used medicinally since Antiquity for stomach ailments, and to dye wool green.

Other Culture: Lady’s Mantle is quite carefree in most situations.

Propagation: Division in spring or fall. Fresh seed germinates quickly, older seed requires cold stratification.

Sources: many; as always, check with your local garden center or perennial nursery


 Return to Perry's Perennial Pages