Herb: Bluebeard

Latin name: Clintonia borealis

Synonyms: Dracaena borealis, Smilacena borealis

Family: Convallariaceae

Medicinal use of Bluebeard:

The leaves are cardiac and disinfectant. A poultice has been applied to open wounds, burns, ulcers, scrofulous sores and infections.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)


Habitat of the herb:

Rich woodlands, deep thickets, higher elevations in cool moist sites.

Edible parts of Bluebeard:

Young leaves - raw or cooked. Harvested in spring before they fully unfurl, they have a slightly sweetish cucumber flavour. Older leaves can be used as a potherb.

Other uses of the herb:

The crushed leaves have been rubbed on the face and hands as a protection from mosquitoes.

Propagation of Bluebeard:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame, it usually germinates in the spring. Stored seed should be sown in late winter or early spring in a cold frame. It sometimes germinates within 1 - 3 months at 15C, but may take a year. The seed should be completely separated from the fruit and should only just be covered by soil. If the seed has been sown thinly enough, then it is possible to leave the seedlings in the pot for their first growing season, dividing them after they become dormant. Make sure to give them liquid feeds at intervals through the spring and summer. Otherwise prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. Plant out in late spring or early summer at the beginning of their second or third years growth. Division in spring as new growth is just commencing.

Cultivation of the herb:

Rich woodlands, deep thickets, higher elevations in cool moist sites.

Known hazards of Clintonia borealis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.