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Looking for a specific 'herb'

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27 Apr 2009 06:30 - 27 Apr 2009 06:35 #1518 by Inthedirt813
Inthedirt813 created the topic: Looking for a specific 'herb'
Over 10 years ago I had a wonderful plant that was sold as an herb. It's specialty was that it was a mosquito repellant bush (if you will). We had a really bad winter that uprooted the plant too many times that it died. It was about 12" h and approx. 12" in circumfrence. I have been searching to replace it when all I get is people looking at me like I have two heads or they lead me to scented flowers (can't think of the name) some are strawberry scented.
Anyway this plant was a perrenial. I didn't save the tag as I was a "young" gardener when I first bought it. The "leaves" were long, narrow with something like a fringe along the edges. Color is similiar to that of Rosemary.
Tag specified that if you rub the plants vigoursly you release the citronella sent and will deter mosquito's for up to 5'. Truth be told, it worked. I also rubbed the oils on my skin. Similiar to that feel when you run your finger up a spike of Rosemary or lavender leaves.
DOES ANYONE OUT THERE KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT?
Only once did it flower for me which was unexpected as the tag said nothing about flowering, the flowers where yellow similiar to a tight yarrow bud or the 'new' herb called "curry". cautiously optimistic :S
Last Edit: 27 Apr 2009 06:35 by Inthedirt813. Reason: spelling

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07 May 2009 10:09 #1541 by Mitch
Mitch replied the topic: Re:Looking for a specific 'herb'
Hi inthedirt,

I thought your question was very interesting, so i thought i'd ask around - i sent your question to our local herb expert, and she sent it to her friends, but they couldn't figure it out - I then sent it to a listserve for Garden Writers and I got a number of answers - and it sounds like one is actually your answer!!!!! I'm going to include all the answers below - the top one is the one which sounds like the winner - I hope this helps - Mitch

Answer 1:
I remembered this plant so well I could almost go to the Gurney catalog and find it except that was years ago. And I couldn't remember the name, but I found it in my own book, Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens. I was a certain kind of scented geraniun, Pelargonium citrosum var. Van Leeni. I have no idea where to find one now. Check with your local herb growers and on the web. I had one once, also. I just learned that Beauty berry, Callicarpa americana, is also good for this. They used to put a bunch of leaves under the harness on the mules, a lady told me, and she has one at either end of her bromiliad garden and can work there without being bitten, while the rest of the yard buzzes with mosquitoes. I've also heard the eldeberry leaves help, and I have used neem but that doesn't grow there except in pots. I have trees. How that helps. Monica

Answer 2:
I think that the "herb" is Santolina - yellow flowers, fragrant "herbal" foliage and repels mosquitos.

C.L.

Answer 3:
Take a look at some of the tanacetums...

Carlo A. Balistrieri, Executive Director
The Gardens at Turtle Point

Answer 4:
That one is weird! - Mosquito plant used to be citrus pelargonium but that
would be wider green leaves and would be why the lady was taken to the
scented plant. Yellow button flowers confirm that this is not that- scented
geraniums tend to white or pinky flowers.
Yellow flowers and rosemary type leaves could be 'curry plant' Helichrysum
angustifolia, which is hardy in the south but not further north than zone 6
or 7. This has rosemary type leaves but the reference to fringing is
strange. The only other thing would be the green santolina which can be used as
a bug repellant and is hardy and does not get very big but does not smell
of citrus either.
Which leaves maybe an artemisia - the nearest being abrotatum varities
which come in tangerine southernwood etc. These are woody, green and hardy but
really don't have a flower that I know about.
Let me know if these are anything like what she had, and what others come
up with,
Kate

These are the one's that made the most - i hope this helps

thanks
Mitch

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06 Jan 2013 16:33 #2297 by mywebinfo
mywebinfo replied the topic: Re:Looking for a specific 'herb'
I think you are talking about citronella plant. In our area the stores seem to carry it in spurts, I haven't seen it for a while around here. Supposed to be the plant where they get citronella oil, which is what they use for mosquito repellant. Hope that helps, even though it is a bit late. :S

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