What Is Santolina?
Santolina (Chamaecyparis noctiluca) is a plant with white flowers, which are used for their fragrance and flavor. They have been cultivated since ancient times and were traditionally used as incense or perfumes. The leaves are used to make tea, tinctures, and other herbal medicines. The flowers are used as food and flavoring.
The name “santolina” comes from the Latin word “sanitas”, meaning “pure”. The plant’s botanical name means “white flower”. The species name is Chamaecyparis noctiluca, which translates into English as White Flower of the Night.
It was originally called Santhalia by Native Americans, but it is now known as Santolina.
How To Grow Santolina?
Growing Santolina is easy. You need to provide proper lighting, water, and air circulation. There are several ways to grow santolina: seeds; cuttings; grafting; and cutting the plant back every year. All these methods will result in a new plant. The best way to grow santolina is through division or grafting method.
How To Care Santolina?
Santolina plants are quite easy. They can survive in many extreme conditions, but they do require full sunlight. You can also grow them in a container and place it on a balcony or windowsill. A santolina plant does well in a well-drained soil. It can grow in poor or rocky soils, as long as drainage is good. If you want a more formal or a hedge, plant the santolina in clusters.
If grown in containers, be careful not to over-water the plants. They are quite resilient and can survive in poor or rocky soils, as long as drainage is good.
Santolina requires moderate watering and prefers a dry to neutral soil. It can tolerate drought but prefers average watering habits. It grows well in full sun and thrives in dry, poor soil.
It is fairly pest-resistant and deer-resistant.
Houseplant care: If you’re growing santolina in a container, be sure to grow it in pot with good drainage. Place it in a location that receives plenty of natural sunlight. Water thoroughly when the top 1-2 inches of the soil becomes dry.
Unlike most flowering plants, santolina doesn’t require a lot of fertilizer. If you wish, use a slow-release fertilizer or a liquid fertilizer.
Santolina can be easily propagated through cuttings. You can also start santolina from seed, but it takes several weeks for them to grow. Santolina is generally pest-free and rarely suffers from diseases.
Flowering Period And Altitude
Santolina blooms from July to September. There is a little bit of variation in the exact month that it blooms. In certain locations, santolina can bloom from June to October.
Santolina can grow at any altitude between 200 meters above sea level and 1,500 meters above sea level. It can survive in different temperature zones and its growth isn’t affected by high or low temperatures. It is a drought-tolerant plant that can survive in dry conditions.
Santolina is a hardy evergreen subshrub which can grow up to a height of 30 centimeters and a width of 50 centimeters. It has grayish green leaves with pale yellow flowers.
This plant grows wild and naturally in many regions such as Southwestern United States, California, England, Australia, and Canary Island.
The santolina’s narrow, linear leaves are grayish-green in color. They grow opposite each other on square, hairy stems. During the summer, it produces many yellow flowers.
Its flowers are small and spherical in shape. The flowers appear in clusters or dense spikes. This plant has a thick taproot and doesn’t have any creeping stems. It blooms from July to September.
How And When To Harvest?
Pick the flower before the seeds start to form. Dried santolina flowers can be used as a flavoring for meat, fish and cheese dishes. It can be used as a substitute for thyme or sage in cooking. Its tiny flowers can be used fresh or dry to make tea. Santolina is also used for medicinal purposes. It has antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, and stimulant properties. These flowers can also be used to make yellow dye.
Santolina is likely to be the ‘True Lavender’ mentioned by English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century.
Santolina is commonly known as ‘glory of the wall’ due to its ornamental qualities.
Santolina can be poisonous if ingested in large quantities.
Combining santolina with wormwood, horehound or scabious can make it even more poisonous.
Santolina is sometimes called ‘little boneset’ due to its resemblance to that plant.
Both trailing and dwarf varieties of santolina are used in landscaping.
Desert lavender, a flowering plant in the santolina genus, is closely related to santolina.
Santolina can be used as a natural moth repellent. It can keep moths away from clothes. You should place santolina in your cupboard or wardrobe to keep moths away from your clothes.
Santolina grows wild on the island of Java and was once thought to have originated there.
Santolina can be confused with lavender and fleabane.
Santolina is a word that originates from the Mediterranean area.
Santolina is sometimes called sea lavender due to its extensive use in folk medicine.
Santolina can be toxic if it is ingested in large quantities. It can also cause skin irritation when touched or inhaled.
Santolina has a pungent odor.
Santolina is sometimes called ‘snt’ in the language of flowers. It stands for ‘treachery’.
Santolina is an ingredient in some hair rinses and dandruff preparations.
Santolina can be used to protect the skin from the sun. It can be used as a substitute for lemon grass, citronella grass, and thyme in balms and oils.
In Italian, santolina is called zenzero which means ‘ginger’.
Santolina is also called oil of santolina.
Santolina consists of 15 to 35% of the essential oils found in the herb.
Santolina grows well in xerophytic conditions.
Santolina can be grown in a rock garden.
Santolina is found in many gardens in the Canary islands. It’s also grown on the shores of Lake Garda, an Italian lake.
Santolina is easy to grow in well-drained soil. It can be grown in pots or tubs. It doesn’t need much water and can withstand long periods without water.
It prefers full sun.
Santolina is an important honey plant. It attracts bees into gardens.
Some people have allergic reactions to santolina. It can cause contact dermatitis in some people by touching the plant.
The word santolina belongs to the same family of words as ‘sanctus’ and ‘holy’. It has religious connections.
Santolina can be used as a readily available source of yellow dye for wool, silk, and leather. It can also be used to dye hair.
Santolina has been used as a substitute for hops in beer.
Santolina can also be used as an alternative for thyme or savory in cooking. It works well in stews and with meat and tomatoes. Santolina can also be combined with potatoes and other vegetables.
Santolina was once used to treat whooping coughs, convulsions, and convulsive coughing in children.
Santolina was also used in the time of Elizabeth I as a remedy for the bites of venomous creatures. It was also mixed into medicines for the plague.
The leaves and flowers of santolina were also said to help cure infectious fevers.
Santolina was also used to treat venomous bites. It was mixed into ointments and applied directly to the wound to cure it.
Santolina was used as a remedy for gastroenteritis in children.
The plant is still used in Indian medicine today.
Santolina is a name that is believed to come from Saint Lucy, the patron saint of sight. The plant has been used for treating eye and vision problems since ancient times.
Santolina is said to be a good remedy for tired eyes and night blindness. It can also be used to clean the skin around and in the eyes.
Santolina is sometimes called ‘wild lavender’ or ‘wild soda’.
Sources & references used in this article:
Cellular effects induced by Inula graveolens and Santolina corsica essential oils on Staphylococcus aureus by E Guinoiseau, A Luciani, PG Rossi, Y Quilichini… – European journal of …, 2010 – Springer
Genetic diversity in Egyptian populations of Achillea santolina using morphological traits and ISSR markers by A Badr, H Ahmed, M Hamouda, E El-Khateeb – Taeckholmia, 2014 – taec.journals.ekb.eg
Biological activities and chemical composition of Santolina africana Jord. et Fourr. aerial part essential oil from Algeria: Occurrence of polyacetylene derivatives by CEW Malti, C Baccati, M Mariani, F Hassani, B Babali… – Molecules, 2019 – mdpi.com
Chemical composition and in vitro antimicrobial activity of the essential oils of flower heads and leaves of Santolina rosmarinifolia L. from Romania by E Ioannou, A Poiata, M Hancianu… – Natural product …, 2007 – Taylor & Francis
New chemotype of essential oil of Achillea santolina L. collected from different regions of Algeria by T Berramdane, N Gourine, I Bombarda… – Journal of Food …, 2018 – Springer