What is a figwort? Perennials native to North America, Europe, and Asia, figwort herb plants (Scrophularia nodosa) tend not to be showy, and are thus uncommon in the average garden. They nevertheless make wonderful candidates since they are quite easy to grow. Figwort plant uses for healing are many, one of the reasons why gardeners may choose to grow them.
Figwort Plant Information
Figwort herb plants are related to the mullein plant from the family Scrophulariaceae, and some of their growing patterns and appearances are reminiscent of one another. Growing in similar fashion to mint, figworts reach heights of around 3 feet (1 m.), with tops that bloom in summer. Some plants, in the right situations, can grow to heights of around 10 feet (3 m.). Flowers are inconspicuous yet unique, with round shapes and red-yellow colors.
Figwort blooms attract wasps, which may be beneficial to your garden and its wildlife. The leaves, tubers, and flowers of the plant exude an unpleasant smell that may be responsible for attracting these wasps, while making it unpalatable to humans and animals. Still, the root is considered edible despite its repelling taste, having once been used as a food for famine in ancient times.
The methods for growing figworts are easy. They can be grown from seed under protection in early spring or autumn, then transplanted out into the garden or containers when large enough to be easily handled once temperatures warm. You can also propagate figworts by means of root division, moving these divisions to outdoor permanent locations, again once temperatures are warm and plants are officially established.
These plants enjoy both full sun and partially shady spots and are not too picky about where they are placed. If you have a damp spot in your garden, however, these plants might be the perfect fit. Figwort herb plants are known for loving damp, soggy areas, such as on riverbanks or in ditches. They can also be found in the wild growing in woodlands and moist forest areas.
Figwort Plant Uses
The uses of this plant stem mostly from the folk healing world. Owing to its species name and family name, the herb was often used for cases of “scrofula,” an old term for lymphatic infections connected to tuberculosis. More generally, the herb was used as a cleansing agent to remove impurities, stagnant infections, and to clean the lymph nodes and systems.
Figwort was also topically used for more simple and common maladies like burns, wounds, swellings, abscesses, sores, and sprains. To this end, figwort herb plants were made into herbal teas and ointments for topical and internal healing purposes. Modern herbalists today employ the plant for these same topical issues and have been known to use it for thyroid problems.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is for educational and gardening purposes only. Before using ANY herb or plant for medicinal purposes, please consult a physician or a medical herbalist for advice.
Gardening tips, videos, info and more delivered right to your inbox!
Sign up for the Gardening Know How newsletter today and receive a free download of our most popular eBook "How to Grow Delicious Tomatoes."
Which Types Of Wood To Use For Growing Fungi
Wondering about the best logs for mushroom plugs? Match the mushroom type to the tree variety for a great crop of delicious mushrooms.
By Bonnie L. Grant
Woodland Stumpery Garden Design – Working Wonders With Woodland Stumperies
Grow a beautiful woodland stumpery garden with woodland plants interspersed in, on and near tree stumps of all kinds and sizes.
By Teo Spengler
Scrophularia Information: What Is Red Birds In A Tree Plant
If you're interested in growing Scrophularia red birds, your best bet is a nursery that specializes in native, rare, or unusual plants. Learn more about Scrophularia red birds and how you can grow this amazing plant in your own garden by clicking here.
By Mary H. Dyer