Saturday, July 5, 2008


A beneficial herb native to Europe and some parts of Asia, often referred to as Goats Rue (Galega officinalis). Motherlove grows about 5' tall and is very invasive. Believe it or not there is a forsythia behind the tree on the right, pictured in the mint green color.
A herb used to break a fever by increasing sweating in the user, combat fatigue, reduce blood sugar in non-insulin diabetics who respond to dietary changes. Perhaps that explains the added energy. Motherlove is comprised of alkaloids, flavonoids and galegin, to name a few. It obtained FDA approval in 1995.
One of the most potent herb used to increase breast milk in lactating mothers, juices pressed from greens have been used in goat feedings. The main purpose was to clot producing milk as it aided in cheese manufacturing. Dried flowers are fed to cows. Herbivores who grazed on the plant have been poisoned as it can be toxic to them.

Motherlove has long flower stalks that bloom from June to August. The blooms range from white to light lavender. People in my area (non-gardeners,) refer to it as a bleeding heart although the flowers are similar to the pea family. Describing the leaves as "fern like" doesn't convince them otherwise.

In the fall, motherlove develops brown seed pods with 2 to 6 seeds apiece. The seedpods fall and if the soil is moist and rich, another bush appears. Growing the seeds may mean stratifying them depending on what time of year it is. I thought this was sumac and pulled it for a couple of years, then it flowered, I've decided to let it go, even with it being invasive.

It's VERY happy. In the garden.....


  1. Interesting plant Dawn...those pea family members are astonishing how 'well' they grow! When you say invasive are you saying "watch out don't plant?" or "it's a thug in the garden but controllable?"

  2. So that's what that plant is! I think I'll avoid planting it in my garden but the flowers are attractive. Thanks for the good info!

  3. I had never heard of it before. It does have a pretty flower. That is so interesting that it aids in milk clotting to help produce cheese. I love goat cheese.

  4. I think it has to be alone on your property and left to grow. If its in the garden you will be forever pulling and its hard to pull. I actually thought it was sumac at first, it has lovely furry stems that are red. Gets to about 5', many people have them on the edge of the woods. Not many really pretty pics on the net. Glad mine came out so well.

  5. Very interesting facts on a very pretty plant. Personally I do not see why anyone would call it a bleeding heart.

  6. Dawn, I think it does resemble a Sweet pea! I have been trying to get a sweet pea to grow from seed along our chain link fence but with this drought, no luck.

    I hope everyone had a nice 4th of July!!! We spent the day at the lake splashing around with our friends. Good, cool fun until the snake swam up from nowhere about one foot from the Saints head! I walked on water! We left that cove and went elsewhere. LOL...
    We saw 3 Bald Eagles throughout the day. One had a fish in its talons with a smaller bird giving chase. The Eagle dropped the fish on the bank by where we were swimming. We all saw this exciting thing. Nothing like seeing the Bald Eagles soar on 4th of July!

    Saint and I took our first visit to the Georgia Botanical Gardens in Athens, GA on Thursday. That was a beautiful garden but too hot to see it all. I will have to write about it some time…

  7. Hey Dawn, Mom and Skeeter, Can't talk long. We are going on the boat. I've got sunblock ready-lots. It is fairly nice here today-for July. Just got back from blueberry/blackberry and daylily picking. It was nice. They are yummy! Glad everyone had a great 4th and it sure shows on the blog as it has been slow. So many love this holiday. All night long fireworks were going off. I hope it is over now but I doubt it.

  8. Hi Skeeter! I figured you were on a holiday party. That is something about the Eagles, I'm surprised it dropped the fish, did the little bird get it?
    Snakes! They do that in the water!?!
    Hi Tina, have a good time on the boat, it is a nice day today, not too hot, not too cold, got in the 50's last night. House was cold when we got back from moms.
    Mom, yah, I wouldn't think that people would think this is a bleeding heart. I should describe the leaves as "palm like". After I discovered it was not sumac, I thought native wisteria.

  9. Hello All,
    I did not know about this plant. The blooms are pretty & do look like a pea. I shall look for it to see if it grows around here---I doubt it.

    I hope all had a great 4th & are enjoying the holiday time. Too hot here to do anything except sit in AC.

    Someone running for some office came by & put small flags at everyone's mail box. I thought that was nice.

    Hope all have a very lovely evening & night.

  10. What a pretty plant--how hard it is to find? Is it a native? I love the rock boundary around your trees--does that help contain the Goat's Rue?

  11. Mother love plant looks very familiar to me. I may have tasted it before. i'm thinking its tart... Anyway, its flowers are beautiful.

  12. A very interesting post. I've never heard of this plant before, though those leaves look familiar. It's actually quite pretty, and I'd probably leave it in my garden, too, if it promised to behave itself.

  13. Hi Lola, That's a nice idea the guy put flags on the mailboxes, shows he can take the time to love his country.
    Cosmos, yes motherlove is a native plant and not hard to find once you know what the leaves look like and easy to grow, getting taller after it blooms. I like my rocks, ME has sooo many but no, I still have goats rue growing outside the wall in two spots.
    Hi dp, never thought this herb would taste tart, I must try it sometime.
    Rose, it is very pretty, I left it though because I was losing at fighting it.

  14. Hey all! Long day out on the boat-very interesting day especially the part where we got towed in. lol
    Anyhow, talk with you all tomorrow.

  15. I would certainly try growing it in a container. I'll try anything in a container. We were just given some Cashmere Bouquet and they told us to be careful because it would take over. Someone on thier blog mentioned a tub, so I found a fiberglass one, and we put holes in the bottom and planted them in there. They are beautiful and if they do all right, I will put some trellis or something around the outside of the tub to hide it.

  16. Lola that was a great idea for the guy to do with the flags. However, I don't think a lot of people are very happy with a lot of things nowdays so it may not get him a lotta votes, which, in my humble opinon, is very sad. Our great country may have some flaws (as with anything or anyone)
    but it sure is the best there is.

    We had a great 4th. 22 people here and everyone had a good time and good food and fireworks for an hour and half. Then the kids shot off small ones for half an hour. I know you Tina, and I know you are glad you were not here!!! Your baby sister does not care for fireworks either so she goes in her house when they are being shot off. But she always cleans them all up the next day. Your grandson did GREAT!! A lot of little todlers are scared so I had the kids all use sparklers first and then the first firework was one with no sounds to help him get used to them. Ended up, I don't think it mattered as he liked them anyway. He had not had a nap all day so fell asleep not to far into them in his Daddy's arms. Pretty good for an almost 15 month old handsome little boy. They will all come for supper next Fri or Sat, depending on which works best. Don't know if suppertime will be too early on Friday or not. Will have to find out. Someone needs to let me know. Jack of all Trades figured out the order to shoot them and did the shooting and what a GREAT JOB HE DID. He would have 2 or 3 at a time going off.

    The trip to Calais went well. Left at 6:30 am so had time to go see Aunt Rose and Aunt Evelyn before the funeral. They are both doing very well. Still live alone and do all their own work. In fact Aunt Evelyn had some clothes out to iron when we got there!!!! Not bad for 89 and 90 years old. They both had read that Judy had passed away so thought I'd be down since Phil and I have always been so close.
    The funeral was as good as a funeral can be and the church was packed. They had a nice get together at the church after with LOTS of food. Since they had that I figured we would come home after but Phil wanted me to go back to the house so what could I do? There was only Phil, the kids, Aunt Barb and Uncle Bud there. Phil is not doing well at all but kids are doing pretty good.

  17. Oh darn, I forgot but....towed in.... hummmm....look forward to hearing that story!!!

  18. Hi Eve and Mom! Great morning it is here in Tennessee!

  19. Dawn & Jean, I think he just used the 4th to advertise his candidacies for office. It was a nice gesture on his part & as far as I can tell everyone has left them up. Crazy world with condition as they are but people in general are still decent.
    Tina, long day in boat? Being towed in? Glad you got back ok.

  20. Yes Lola, It seems to be a long day each day with all the watering I have to do. urrrr! The boat is ok and already fixed.