Meadowsweet, like Willow, contains salicylic acid, first synthesised into Aspirin in the 1890’s: in fact aspirin is named after Meadowsweet from its scientific name ‘spiraea’. A lovely, scented plant of damp places it is one of the 50 plants in ‘Save’, a drink mentioned in Chaucer’s ‘A Knights Tale’. The common name is probably from ‘Mead’, as it was often used to flavour mead, wine and beer. Before herbicides it sometimes could be tasted in cows milk. Unusual in having flowers smelling differently to its leaves (rub and see), Gerard, in the 16th Century, wrote: “The leaves and floures ..far excel all other strowing [strew] herbs for to decke up houses, to strow in
chambers, halls and banqueting-houses”. Conditions: Cloud and light rain. Temperature: Max 18- Min 13C.