Ground Elder - Aegopodium podagraria

Identify Ground Elder

GROUND ELDER (Aegopodium podagraria)

Ground Elder - Aegopodium podagraria

How to Identify Ground Elder(Edible)

Common names
Ground Elder, Bishop’s Weed, Goutweed, Gout Wort, Snow-in-the-Mountain, English Masterwort, Wild Masterwort

Botanical name
Aegopodium podagraria

Meaning of botanical name
From the Greek Aigos for “goat” and podo meaning foot. The second part of the name is Latin and is another reference to foot “pod” and cultivated land “agraria”

Known hazardsShould not be eaten after flowering due to laxative and soporific effects

Could be confused with Elder, however this is a tree and has more woody and thicker stems

Food plant ofLarvae of many moth species

Range and distribution
Europe and Asia

HabitatGrassland, lawns, and hedgerows

Physical characteristics
Leaves appear first low to the ground. They strongly resemble Elder leaves, but the lower pair of leaflets are almost split.

The plant can eventually reach up to a meter in height and eventually forms umbels of white flowers.

It is an aggressive plant and difficult to remove once established.

Folklore, tall tales, and not so folklore
Believed to have been introduced to Britain by the Romans as a herb

Edible use
The leaves make an excellent herb with a taste remarkably similar to parsley

HerbalHas been used historically as a treatment for gout. If you have a medical complaint, please see your doctor

MiscellaneousHated by gardeners as it is very difficult to remove from lawns and borders. Small rhizomes under the ground readily form new plants, so cutting before flowering is ineffective