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Dictamnus albus

Phonetic Spelling
dik-TAM-nus AL-bus
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Dittany is an upright bushy herbaceous perennial that is slow to establish, but once established, is very long lived. At maturity, it can reach 3 feet high and 2 feet wide with an upright, clumping form and fragrant glossy green leaves. Showy spikes of spidery-looking white flowers appear in early summer.  In hot weather old flowers or seed pods emit a flammable oil and a match held below the spike on a still night will ignite a burst of vapor leading to the common name, Gas Plant. Dittany does not transplant well, and once established should not be divided in the garden. You can start new plants from seed sown outdoors in the fall, but these seeds must go through the winter for cold stratification before they take root and grow. Note that they can take 2 to 4 years before they will bloom. The genus name comes from the Greek and is probably named after Mount Dikte. The species name means white.

Dittany prefers moist, well-drained, humusy and slightly alkaline soils in full sun, but will tolerate some drought once established. It does best in climates with cooler summer nights and can tolerate poor soil and light shade. In its native European habitat, it can be found on woodland margins and rocky soil. Flowers and foliage can cause skin rash in some individuals.

Diseases, Insect Pests, and Other Plant Problems:

No known diseases or insect pests.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hardy#deciduous#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#perennials#white flowers#pink flowers#slow growing#fragrant leaves#summer flowers#deer resistant#bushy#pollinator plant#butterfly friendly#contact dermatitis
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#hardy#deciduous#full sun tolerant#fragrant flowers#perennials#white flowers#pink flowers#slow growing#fragrant leaves#summer flowers#deer resistant#bushy#pollinator plant#butterfly friendly#contact dermatitis
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Dictamnus
    Species:
    albus
    Family:
    Rutaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southern and Central Europe and Central Asia.
    Distribution:
    Europe to South Western Siberia and Western Himalaya. Has been introduced into Vermont, New York, and Michigan.
    Wildlife Value:
    Attracts butterflies.
    Edibility:
    Leaves can cause stomach upset if eaten in large quantities.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 2 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Herbaceous Perennial
    Perennial
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Erect
    Mounding
    Rounded
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Fruit Type:
    Capsule
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Star-shaped seed heads can be left on the plant after flowering to provide some ornamental interest.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Blue
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Raceme
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Produces 1 inch fragrant, 5-petaled, white, lavender or pink terminal raceme flowers with long projecting stamens in late spring to early summer.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Fragrant
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Glossy light-green leaves with a lemony fragrance when crushed remain attractive throughout the growing season.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Description:
    Rigid stems do not typically need any support. Typically grow to 2 to 4 feet tall.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Cottage Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Drought
  • Poisonous to Humans:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Can produce a rash in some people. Leaves can be poisonous if ingested in large dosage.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    an oil in the leaves
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Flowers
    Leaves