Attractive, low-spreading perennial that brings to mind deep-shaded woods. Slender, square stems 612 in. high are encircled every inch or so by whorls of six to eight aromatic, bristle-tipped leaves. Clusters of tiny white flowers show above foliage in late spring and summer. Leaves and stems give off a fragrant, haylike odor when dried; they are used to make May wine.
In the shade garden, sweet woodruff is best used as ground cover or edging. Will spread rapidly in rich soil with abundant moisture; can become a pest if allowed to grow unchecked. Self-sows freely. Increase by division in fall or spring. Give full shade in Lower South. Rarely browsed by deer.