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'.