Rue comes from the Ruta chalepensis plant, grown in tropical Africa and more specifically in Ethiopia where it’s used as an herb or medicinal plant.
This shrub which can reach up to 1.5m, grows best at altitudes of between 1,500 and 2,000m in full sunlight. The foliage has a powerful aromatic and sweet scent; whilst the berries have a stronger and spicier taste.
The “kuti”, an infusion using coffee leaves, is traditionally flavoured with fresh Ruta chalepensis leaves and some local cheeses are made using these leaves to add flavour to the milk. The berries are used in the renowned Ethiopian berbere blend of spices.
The leaves, once dried and crushed, make an excellent insect repellent.