Lemon verbena is a deciduous plant native to Latin America and it was brought to Europe by the Spanish in the 17th Century. It is not frost hardy, and is best grown in a protected area, near a south facing wall.
The leaves are lancet shape, of a lemony green colour and they are extremely aromatic. Lemon verbena can be used in cooking in the place of lemons: with fish, poultry, vegetables, in ice-creams, jellies and in cakes.
The finely crushed leaves should be used in small quantities as they are very powerful in smell, which can lead to headaches if over-used.
A herbal infusion can also be made with hot water, and the plant is thought to help prevent colds, reduce stress and improve digestion. Lemon verbena leaves can also be used to make homemade lemonade.