Ruta chalepensis is a Chamaephyte species of flowering plant in the Rutaceae (citrus family). It is native to Eurasia and North Africa. It has been found elsewhere as an introduced species. Stems reach up to 60 cm. leaves are alternate, compound, each divided into several segments which are subdivided into smaller leaflets. The inflorescence is a cluster of flowers, each with four or five bright yellow petals with rolled, fringed edges. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by insects.
Flowering period from February to June. The fruit is a textured capsule which is divided into pointed lobes.
Ecology: It prefers dry or moist soil. This plant grows in rocky limestone areas and on cliffs from sea level to 2300 m, and in Mediterranean maquis and forest, it follows the Mediterranean Chorotype.
Medical uses: In ancient Greece and Egypt, rue was used to stimulate menstrual bleeding, to induce abortion, and to strengthen the eyesight. It has in particular the Phytochemical Rutin which medically act to reduce capillary fragility. In traditional medicine, the plant is used as an herbal remedy for a number of ailments, such as fever and inflammation. It is abortifacient, anthelmintic, emmenagogue and ophthalmic. A decoction of the plant has been used in the treatment of paralysis, coughs and stomach. The leaves have been heated then placed inside the ear to treat earache. An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used in perfumery and as a food flavoring.
Distributions in Palestine: The Mediterranean Woodlands and Shrublands, Semi-steppe shrublands.
IUCN red list status: not evaluated
Local status: least concern