A soft-wooded, semi-shrubby, fragrant plant about 3 ft high; stems erect, densely furnished with foliage, and covered at first with a grey down. Leaves downy, the terminal half doubly or trebly pinnate, the final divisions scarcely thicker than a thread; the entire leaf is from 1 to 2 in. long, 3⁄4 to 11⁄2 in. wide, and dull green. Flower-heads dull yellow, 1⁄6 in. across, nodding; produced during September and October in a tall, slender panicle 12 to 18 in. high, 11⁄2 to 21⁄2 in. through, terminating each shoot.
Native of S. Europe; cultivated in England since the sixteenth century. The flowers have little beauty, but the plant has always been a favourite in gardens, especially cottage gardens, for the sweet aromatic odour of its finely divided leaves. Village children were very fond of taking a sprig to school, and in the north of England the plant is often called “lad’s love”. It thrives in any soil, but likes a sunny, well-drained spot. Increased by cuttings taken any time during the summer, and placed either in gentle heat, or under a bell-glass in some sheltered corner. It flowers infrequently in most parts of Britain, and is valued solely for its fragrant sprigs.