Favourites from the Royal Pavilion Gardens – Ruscus aculeatus, Butcher’s Broom

Ruscus aculeatus: Butcher’s Broom
Ruscus aculeatus: Butcher’s Broom

Had you considered for Christmas to look
at Ruscus aculeatus. Fit for a book.
The red berries so jolly
Outshine the more usual holly.

Growing well in the Royal Pavilion gardens,
In beds A, B, C and T
with its green flat sharp shoots
presented so proudly
for all people to see.
brought from Eurasia in the 18th century.

Now found in deep shaded woods,
hedgerows,
coastal cliffs
as a garden escapee.

In spring, this sturdy plant sports small green flowers,
turning later to red berries
which by distributing birds are devoured.
By its own rhizomes it can reproduce as well,
which makes this an interesting tale to tell.

Also known as Kneeholly or (holy), Keenholm and Sweet Bloom,
Jew’s myrtle, Pettigree and Butcher’s broom.

Ruscus aculeatus: Butcher’s Broom
Ruscus aculeatus: Butcher’s Broom

And indeed, as implied by the last,
it was used by butchers to sweep, in the past.

Medically, if applied, it brings some gains
and is used to treat hemorrhoids and varicose veins
also works against water retention and constipation
thus being good for the whole circulation.

Thus endeth my Christmas tale of a member of the asparagus family.

Volunteer Gardener, Royal Pavilion Gardens

With season’s greetings from the Royal Pavilion Garden Volunteers
Merry Christmas to all and many happy New Years.

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