Alchemilla, also known as Alchemilla Mollis or Lady's Mantle, is a beautiful plant with a rich medical history in different cultures. Its common name supposedly comes from the resemblance of its scalloped leaves to the Virgin Mary’s cloak, although other explanations exist.
Summer is For Alchemilla
Alchemilla is the most commonly planted of nearly 300 species in the genus in the rose family (Rosaceae) native to the mountains of Europe, Asia, and North America. It is grown for both its interesting foliage and frothy sprays of flowers. The full name of the plant is alchemilla Mollis. Mollis comes from Latin and means soft. This flower is a perennial that grows in large parts of the world but is mainly found in Europe and Asia and in a few mountain regions in Africa and North and South America.
Mainstream Varieties in the Cut Flower Industry
The name Lady's Mantle doesn't only mean soft but probably also comes from its ancient medical application for relieving menstrual pain. Alchemilla is well known as a garden plant but in the cut flower industry, the two mainstream varieties to choose from are the alchemilla mollis and the alchemilla mollis robustica. The latter currently makes up about 95% of the market.
The Soft, Velvety Leaves of Alchemilla
The soft, velvety leaves are up to 6” across with serrated edges. Each leaf is palmately veined with 7-11 partially folded lobes, making it appear pleated. The foliage is light green to olive green in color. The dense hairs on the leaves catch and hold water droplets, so are very attractive after rain or in the morning when drops of dew collect on the textured leaves like a sprinkling of diamonds or beads of liquid mercury. These beads of water were considered by alchemists to be the purest form of water, and they used this water when attempting to turn base metal into gold – hence the name 'Alchemilla'.
Alchemilla in Your Seasonal Bouquets
Alchemilla is mainly used as a decoration flower and support for other flowers in bouquets and arrangements. Due to the neutral color and open structure and wide availability, these flowers can actually be used in any type of floral design. The flower gives a loose and nonchalant effect to a bouquet and fits well in different styles. Because of the neutral color, the flower is a good basis for a (seasonal) bouquet.
As a cut flower, it is mainly available in the spring and summer months. Later in the season, the plant has the characteristic yellow flowers. Its season is similar to that of the peony, with a peak in May and June. For that reason, it is a popular wedding flower that is often combined in a romantic bouquet. Alchemilla also combines great with other seasonal beauties, like dahlia, clematis, and hydrangea. Or try something else and mix them with delphinium, bouvardia, and limonium.