21st February 2013

A bit late posting this today, just got back from France where I found these tiny young leaves emerging. This is Ground Elder Aegopodium podagraria. It is another plant, like Alexanders, which were introduced to the UK (and France!) by the Romans who used it as a pot herb. Today it still tends to be found close to human habitation, it is a persistent weed and is often difficult to eradicate once established.


Ground Elder Aegopodium podagraria

It was cultivated during the Middle Ages for use as a vegetable, pot herb and for its medicinal use against gout, hence goutweed. The young leaves can be cooked as a green vegetable but they have an unusual papery texture even when cooked, which is not to everyone’s taste. It is best used as a herb. Chop finely and add to soups, stews and sauces. It has a surprising but pleasant carroty-coriander like flavour. We’ve used it instead of coriander in curries. The young stems when about 15cm long make a good cooked vegetable when cooked. It is still widely used as a vegetable in Scandinavia and Russia.

It is another member of the Apiaceae family, but it is quite distinctive and relatively easy to identify but take care to avoid picking young Elder seedlings or Dogs Mercury both of which are toxic  and are superficially similar.

Kev Palmer

Related posts