Which Herbs Don’t Flower or Are Infertile?
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Logan Dyjak
Posted on: April 19, 2008

This is quite complex so if you don’t answer I won’t be upset...

I would like help in identifying every plant you offer that fits the following description, as I would buy at least one of every plant which does: 1. They are propagated from cuttings rather than seed, and 2. They a. have not ever before flowered, or b. they are sexed female but either no longer produce flowers or produce flowers which don’t produce sex cells. Thank you for your time and sorry if the question sounds weird.

The question is unusual, but I would not say that it is weird. There may be valid reasons why you might want to know which plant satisfy these conditions, but unless you are involved in breeding or horticultural technology it is hard to imagine why you would want to know.

Whatever your reasons for asking, we always try to answer as best as we can. But in this case, I am afraid that it would take too long to give you an exhaustive list of plants that fit this description. Part of the problem is that we do not know the precise mechanism for infertility in all of the infertile herbs (that do not produce viable seeds) that we sell. In fact, the causes of infertility are quite technical and require some investigation to identify in plants, and in most cases this kind of study has not been done for the herbs we sell, or if it has been done, the results are not readily available to us. With that in mind, here are some we know to rarely or never flower or set seeds:

* Fo ti

* Aloe vera

* Lemon verbena

* English chamomile

* Licorice flag

* Most of scented geraniums do not produce seeds; the exceptions are the species geraniums (as opposed to the named cultivars) such as apple, coconut, peppermint, rose.

* Hops, the beer-making varieties (females, won’t bear seeds in absence of other males)

* Profusion chives

* Profusion sorrel

* Periwinkle

* Fruit sage

* Pineapple sage

* Wormwoods, except the common variety, Artemisia absinthium.

No doubt there are more, but these are what come to mind immediately.

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