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German Madwort

Asperugo procumbens

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
40 centimetres tall
Fields, gardens, walls, wasteland.

Purple, 5 petals
Tiny bluish-purple, bell-shaped flowers, fused at the base. 5 stamens.
The fruit is a flat, dull brown, egg-shaped nutlet.
An annual flower with prickly hairy, lance-shaped, mainly opposite leaves. The leaves may also be alternate or whorled up the stems. The lower leaves are stalked.
Other Names:
Common Madwort, German forget-me-not, German Rampion, Great Goose Grass, Madderwort, Madwort, Trailing Madwort.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Asperugo procumbens, also known as madwort or trailing madwort, is a perennial herbaceous plant that is native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is known for its small, blue or white flowers that bloom in the spring and early summer, and its creeping habit. The plant is a low-growing perennial that can reach up to 40 cm in height, with small, hairy leaves. The plant prefers well-drained soil, full sun or partial shade and it is hardy in zones 4-8. It is often used as a ground cover, due to its low growing habit and attractive blue or white flowers.

It is not related to the Rubiaceae family and it is not used for dye or medicinal purposes. Also, it is not as commonly cultivated as other plants with similar names such as Rubia tinctorum or Rubia peregrina.


German Madwort, Asperugo procumbens, is a small annual plant that belongs to the family Boraginaceae. It is also known by several common names such as common madwort, German rampion, and German forget-me-not. The plant is native to Europe and can be found growing in meadows, fields, gardens, and disturbed areas.

German Madwort is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of 10-40 cm. It has an upright stem that is covered in short, stiff hairs, and grows close to the ground. The leaves are narrow and lance-shaped, with a slightly serrated edge, and are arranged in a rosette at the base of the plant.

The flowers of German Madwort are small, measuring about 3-4 mm in diameter, and are arranged in clusters at the end of the stems. They have five bright blue petals that form a star shape, and a white center. The flowers bloom from May to August and are a popular food source for bees and other pollinators.

German Madwort has a long history of medicinal use. It was traditionally used to treat a variety of ailments such as coughs, colds, and chest infections. The plant contains several compounds that are believed to have anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and diuretic properties.

In addition to its medicinal properties, German Madwort has also been used in culinary preparations. The leaves and young shoots are edible and have a slightly bitter taste. They can be used as a garnish for salads, or added to soups and stews for flavor.

German Madwort is also a popular ornamental plant. Its bright blue flowers make it a favorite among gardeners, and it is often used in rock gardens and as a ground cover. The plant is easy to grow and requires little maintenance, making it a great choice for novice gardeners.

Facts about the German Madwort

German Madwort, also known as Asperugo procumbens, is a fascinating plant that is often overlooked despite its various uses and benefits. Here are some interesting facts about German Madwort:

  1. The name "madwort" comes from the Old English word "maedwort," which means "healing plant." It was believed to have properties that could cure various ailments, including madness.

  2. German Madwort is an annual plant, which means it completes its life cycle in one growing season. It typically germinates in the spring, produces flowers in the summer, and dies in the fall.

  3. The plant has a unique way of dispersing its seeds. Its seeds have hooks on their surface, which allows them to attach themselves to passing animals, clothing, or objects. This enables the seeds to be transported to new locations and germinate in new areas.

  4. German Madwort is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage and contribute to aging and diseases like cancer.

  5. The plant has also been used to treat skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce redness, swelling, and itching associated with these conditions.

  6. German Madwort is a valuable source of nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinators. By planting German Madwort in gardens, you can help support local pollinator populations and contribute to the health of the ecosystem.

  7. German Madwort has been used as a dye plant to produce a blue or purple color. The dye is obtained by soaking the plant in water or alcohol, and it was used in the past to color textiles and clothing.

  8. The leaves and stems of German Madwort have been used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones due to their diuretic properties. The plant can help increase urine production and flush out bacteria and other toxins from the body.

  9. German Madwort is an important medicinal plant in traditional herbal medicine systems such as Ayurveda, where it is used to treat respiratory and digestive disorders.
  10. The plant has also been used to make a tea that can help soothe the throat and alleviate coughs and colds. The tea is made by steeping the leaves and stems in hot water and can be sweetened with honey or other natural sweeteners.

  11. German Madwort has been found to have antimicrobial properties, meaning it can help fight off harmful bacteria and fungi. This makes it a potentially valuable plant for use in natural disinfectants or sanitizers.

  12. German Madwort is easy to grow from seed and can thrive in a variety of conditions. It prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained soil. The plant can also tolerate drought and poor soil conditions, making it a great choice for gardens with less-than-ideal growing conditions.

In conclusion, German Madwort is a versatile and valuable plant with a long history of use in traditional medicine, culinary arts, and textile dyeing. Its various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, make it a plant worth exploring for its medicinal properties. Additionally, its ease of cultivation and usefulness in supporting local pollinator populations make it an excellent choice for gardeners looking to add some color and diversity to their gardens.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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