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Butchers broom

Category: Medicines - plant based



Introduction and description


Ruscus aculeatus is a low evergreen Eurasian shrub. Common names include:

  • Butcher's-Broom
  • Kneeholy, Knee Holly, Kneeholm
  • Jew's Myrtle
  • Sweet Broom
  • Pettigree
  • Λαγομηλιά (Lagomilia): Hare's apple (in greek)
  • Le Fragon: The Butcher (in french)


Ruscus aculeatus has flat shoots known as cladodes that give the appearance of stiff, spine-tipped leaves.

Small greenish flowers appear in spring, and are borne singly in the centre of the cladodes. The female flowers are followed by a red berry, and the seeds are bird-distributed, but the plant also spreads vegetatively by means of rhizomes.

Ruscus aculeatus occurs in woodlands and hedgerows, where it is tolerant of deep shade, and also on coastal cliffs. It is also widely planted in gardens, and has spread as a garden escapee in many areas outside its native range.

References and further reading

  • [Ruscus aculeatus L.--Butcher's broom, a therapeutic agent in proctology].  Salzmann P, Ehresmann U, Adler U.  Fortschr Med. 1977 Jun 2;95(21):1419-22. German.  PMID:  873424
  •  [Value of Ruscus aculeatus in anti-hemorrhoid medication].  COUJOLLE F, MERIEL P, STANISLAS E.  Therapie. 1952;7(5):428-30. Undetermined Language.  PMID:  13049233

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