Dictamnus albus var. purpureus

Tried and Trouble-free Recommended by 3 Professionals
Common Name: dittany
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Rutaceae
Native Range: Southwestern Europe, southern and central Asia to China and Korea
Zone: 3 to 8
Height: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Pale to deep purplish pink with darker veins on petals
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant, Good Cut
Leaf: Fragrant


Grow in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun. Prefers evenly moist, fertile soils that do not become soggy. Does best in northern climates where the nights are cool. Tolerates drought only when well established. Tolerates light shade. Slow to establish, but thereafter a long-lived, low maintenance plant. Difficult to divide and best left undisturbed. Can be grown from seed but takes several years to flower.

Noteworthy Characteristics

This gas plant variety is an aromatic, upright, clump-forming, woody based, herbaceous perennial that features rigid, vertical stems typically growing 2-3' tall which are topped by erect, terminal spires (racemes) of 5-petaled, 1" long, pale to deep purplish-pink flowers with darker lines on the petals. Slightly fragrant flowers bloom only for a brief period (approximately two weeks) in late spring to early summer, and give way to star-shaped seed pods which are attractive in fall if left on the plant. Elegant, glossy, light green, pinnate leaves are attractive throughout the growing season and possess a pleasant lemony scent when rubbed or crushed. Foliage also contains an oil that, in some individuals, can cause a skin rash. In hot weather, old flowers or seed pods emit a flammable oil which, on a windless summer evening, can be ignited with a match, resulting in a brief vapor burn which is harmless to the plant... hence the common name of gas plant.


No serious insect or disease problems. Support is generally unnecessary due to strength of woody based stems.

Garden Uses

Excellent specimen or group planting for perennial borders, especially effective with day lilies, campanulas or iris.