Herbs & Plants

Aegopodium podagraria

Botanical Name : Aegopodium podagraria
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Aegopodium
Species: A. podagraria
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names: Ground Elder, Bishop’s goutweed, Goutweed, Ground Elder, Bishop’s Weed, d ground elder, herb gerard, Gout wort, and Snow-in-the-mountain, and sometimes called English Masterwort, and Wild masterwort.

Habitat : Aegopodium podagraria is native to most of Europe, including Britain, to western Asia and Siberia. It grows on wedgerows and cultivated land. A common garden weed.

Aegopodium podagraria is perennial plant, growing to a height of 100 cm with rhizomes. The stems are erect, hollow and grooved. The upper leaves are ternate, broad and toothed. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies.The plant is self-fertile. The flowers are in umbels, terminal with rays 15 – 20, with small white flowers, the fruits are small and have long curved styles. The flowers are visited by many types of insects, thus being characterised by a generalised pollination system…….CLICK & SEE  THE PICTURES

Edible Uses: Leaves – raw or cooked. An unusual tangy flavour, the majority of people we give it to do not like it although some reports say that it makes a delicious vegetable. The leaves are best harvested before the plant comes into flower, they can be used in salads, soups, or cooked as a vegetable.

The tender leaves have been used in antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages as a spring leaf vegetable, much as spinach was used. Young leaves are preferred as a pot herb. It is best picked from when it appears (as early as February in the UK) to just before it flowers (May to June). If it is picked after this point, it takes on a pungent taste and has a laxative effect. However, it can be stopped from flowering by pinching out the flowers, ensuring the plant remains edible if used more sparingly as a pot herb.

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation, Ground cover, Woodland garden. Prefers damp shady conditions but succeeds in most soils. Prefers a well-drained soil, succeeding in sun or shade. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c. This species was cultivated in the Middle Ages as a medicinal and food plant. A very invasive plant, spreading freely at the roots, though it seldom sets seed in Britain. Once established it can be very difficult to eradicate because any small piece of root left in the ground can regrow. If introducing this plant to your garden, it might be best to restrict the roots by growing the plant in a bottomless container buried in the soil. There is a variegated form of this species that is less invasive and is sometimes grown in the ornamental garden. Plants seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits. Special Features: Attractive foliage, Not North American native, Invasive, Naturalizing, Wetlands plant.

Seed – sow spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in spring. Very easy, divisions can be carried out at almost any time of the year and the divisions can be planted out straight into their permanent positions.

Medicinal Uses:
Aegopodium podagraria has a long history of medicinal use and was cultivated as a food crop and medicinal herb in the Middle Ages. The plant was used mainly as a food that could counteract gout, one of the effects of the rich foods eaten by monks, bishops etc at this time. The plant is little used in modern herbalism. All parts of the plant are antirheumatic, diuretic, sedative and vulnerary. An infusion is used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and disorders of the bladder and intestines. Externally, it is used as a poultice on burns, stings, wounds, painful joints etc. The plant is harvested when it is in flower in late spring to mid-summer and can be used fresh or be dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the flowering plant. It is used in the treatment of arthritis and rheumatism.

Diuretic and sedative. Can be successfully employed internally for aches in the joints, gouty and sciatic pains, and externally as a fomentation for inflamed parts.  The roots and leaves boiled together, applied to the hip, and occasionally renewed, have a wonderful effect in some cases of sciatica.

Other Uses:
This species makes a good ground-cover for semi-wild situations. Make sure that it has plenty of room since it can be very invasive and is considered to be a weed in many gardens.

It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera, including dot moth, grey dagger and grey pug, although A. podagraria is not the exclusive host to any of these species.

A variegated form is grown as an ornamental plant, though with the advice to keep it isolated.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.