Ground-elder

©Philip Precey

Ground-elder

Scientific name: Aegopodium podagraria
Ground-elder was likely introduced into the UK by the Romans and has since become naturalised. A medium-sized umbellifer, it is an invasive weed of shady places, gardens and roadsides.

Species information

Statistics

Height: 30-100cm

Conservation status

Invasive, non-native species.

When to see

June to August

About

Ground-elder was probably introduced into the UK from continental Europe in Roman times for use as a medicinal and culinary herb; it soon became established as a pernicious weed of gardens, shady areas and cultivated ground. It is a perennial, so doesn't die over winter and mainly spreads by rhizomes, although it does seed. It can quickly spread, carpeting an area and outcompeting other plants for resources. Compact umbels (umbrella-like clusters) of white flowers appear between June and August and are attractive to a range of insects.

How to identify

Ground-elder has leaves with three lobes, like a pointed clover-leaf, at the base of its stems. It displays rounded, umbrella-like clusters of small, white flowers.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The roots of Ground-elder delve notoriously deep into the soil and can be hard to get rid of, hence the common name of 'Devil's Guts'.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts record and monitor our local wildlife to understand the effects of various factors on their populations, such as the introduction of new species. You can help with this vital monitoring work by becoming a volunteer - you'll not only help local wildlife but learn new skills and make new friends along the way.