|Aegopodium podagraria subsp. var.||Ash weed, Bishop's weed, Goutweed, Ground ash, Ground elder, Herb gerard|
The ground-elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is a perennial plant in the carrot family (Apiaceae) that grows in shady places. Its name is also sometimes spelled "ground elder", though this format invites confusion with elder (Sambucus), a very distantly related genus with visually similar leaves. Ground-elder is also known as herb gerard, bishop's weed, goutweed, and snow-in-the-mountain. It is the type species of the genus Aegopodium.
The tender leaves have been used as a spring leaf vegetable, much as spinach was used. 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 an unusual taste and a laxative effect. However it can be stopped from flowering by pinching out the flowers, ensuring that the plant remains edible if used more sparingly as a pot herb.
A variegated form is grown as an ornamental plant, though with the advice to keep it isolated.
Aegopodium podagraria, Linn., var. variegatum, Hort. Twelve to 14 in.—A rapid-growing variegated form of this European weed, which makes attractive mats of white-margined foliage. Common in yards, and planted as edging and mats against buildings and in shady places. Prop. readily by division, and of simplest cult.CH
- More information about this species can be found on the genus page.
In some areas, this plant is considered among the worst of weeds, as it readily spreads over large areas of ground by underground rhizomes. It is extremely invasive, and crowds out native species. The smallest piece of rhizome left in the ground will quickly form a sturdy new plant, followed by many more.
If a small plant finds its way into a perennial flower garden it will spread with vigor, resist all attempts at eradication, and make continued ornamental gardening there very difficult.
Pests and diseases
- ↑ "Ground Elder - Bishops Weed (Aegopodium podagraria)". Edible Plants (2009). Retrieved on 2010-02-15.