Ground Elder / Spirng / Summer / Edible
How to Identify the Ground Elder plant
Also known as:
Gout weed, Bishops weed, Herb Gerard
Woodland edges, parks, gardens
Non-native, flowering, herbaceous perennial
Identifying Features for Ground Elder:
Light green, toothed, ovate leaves usually in groups of five, shiny when young becoming darker with age with a matt finish.
An umbel of tiny white flowers.
A short, hollow stem with a u-shaped groove
Use the leaves as an alternative to parsley
The leaves were traditionally used as a poultice for gout.
Once the plant flowers it becomes a mild laxative and has soporific effects so it is best avoided.
Potential lookalikes: Dogs Mercury, but this has hairy leaves that don’t grow in groups of three. Very young elder can look similar but these have a definite stem which becomes the trunk.
A non-native plant bought to Britain by the Romans, it is aggressively invasive as many gardens will know.
Sometimes it absolutely carpets the floor until there is oceans of the stuff, it has many many uses so we should be picking not spraying this stuff 🙂