In the Wild
(Filipendula ulmaria syn. Spiraea ulmaria)
*Also known as bridewort, meadwort, and queen of the meadow
Meadowsweet can grow four to six feet tall. The leaves are comprised of oval, toothed leaflets with prominent veins and whitish down on their undersides. Its tiny, five-petaled flowers are creamy white and grow in clusters. They bloom from June through August and have an almond-like scent. Meadowsweet was introduced into North America from Europe.
Meadowsweet’s species name means “elm-like,” in reference to the shape of its leaves.64 Its common name is a corruption of meadsweet, which comes from its use as a flavoring for mead. Found in drinking cups that date back to the Neolithic (New Stone Age), traces of meadowsweet attest to its use in brewing for thousands of years. Its use as a medicinal herb continues today.
Use meadowsweet flowers to encourage love and to foster a successful marriage. Scatter fresh-cut meadowsweet as a strewing herb at handfasting rituals. Also include the flowers in a bridal bouquet for blessings of the Goddess. Used around the home, meadowsweet will help bring harmony. Make an infusion for a pre-ritual bath, or use dried flowers to scent ritual clothing.
Meadowsweet is associated with the elements air and water. Its astrological influence comes from Jupiter. This plant is also associated with the goddesses Aine and Danu.