GROUND ELDER (Aegopodium podagraria)
How to Identify Ground Elder(Edible)
Ground Elder, Bishop’s Weed, Goutweed, Gout Wort, Snow-in-the-Mountain, English Masterwort, Wild Masterwort
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”
Should not be eaten after flowering due to laxative and soporific effects
Could be confused with
Elder. However, Elder is a tree and has more thick and woody stems
Food plant of
Larvae of many moth species
Range and distribution
Europe and Asia
Grassland, lawns, and hedgerows
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
The leaves make an excellent herb with a taste remarkably similar to parsley
Has been used historically as a treatment for gout.
If you have a medical complaint, please see your doctor
Hated 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