To 23 feet high and wide, with aromatic, fernlike, blue-green leaves. Small, greenish yellow flowers are followed by decor- ative brown seed capsules. Sow seeds in flats; transplant to 1 feet apart. Needs good garden soil; add lime to strongly acid soil. Cut back in early spring to encourage bushiness. Seed clusters can be dried for use in wreaths or swags. 'Blue Beauty' and 'Jackman's Blue' are dense, compact selections with fine blue-gray color; 'Blue Mound' and 'Curly Girl' are even more compact.
Rue owes its status as an herb to history and legend rather than to any medicinal or culinary use. It was once thought to ward off disease, guard against poisons, and aid eyesight. It was also used to make brushes for sprinkling holy water. The sap causes dermatitis in some people.