A large upright biennial herb, producing a large leafy clump in the first year and flowers in the second. A majestic plant that can easily reach heights of 6ft (2m) or more. Although Angelica usually dies back after flowering, it will increase by self-seeding if allowed.

Family: Apiaceae, Umbelliferae
Botanical Name: Angelica archangelica
Common Names: Archangel, wild celery, wild parsnip

Foliage: Deciduous, divided, large aromatic leaves.

Flowers: Large heads of tiny, pale green flowers.

Flowering Period: Early summer (June and July)

Soil: Moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil (chalk, clay or loam). Acid, alkaline or neutral pH.

Conditions: Partial shade. Plant in a north, east or west facing aspect.

Habit: Bushy, upright.

Type: Biennial.

Origin: Europe and northern hemisphere.

Hardiness: Hardy in the UK (but short-lived).

Planting and Growing Angelica

In the wild angelica grows in woodland and along river banks. It prefers a rich, deep, moist soil, in a lightly shaded position. Dislikes hot, dry conditions.

A good plant for the back of the vegetable patch or a large container. Also useful as a decorative plant in the herbaceous border.

Taking Care of Angelica

Keep the soil weeded in the first season. Stake in exposed sites.

Remove the flower heads before they set seed to prolong the life of the plant. However, allow at least one plant to set seed, if self-seeding is required.

Pruning Angelica

Cut back after flowering in the second year.

Pests and Diseases

Can be affected by slugs, snails, aphids and leaf miners. Prone to powdery mildews.

Propagating Angelica

Sow seed thinly outside in a prepared seedbed in late spring/early summer. Germination takes 2 to 3 weeks. Thin to 2-3ft (60-90cm) apart, once large enough to handle.

Can be sown earlier under protection of a cold frame. Move or plant-out seedlings whilst still young as mature plants dislike root disturbance.

Culinary Uses

The root, seed, stem and leaves can all be used as a culinary herb. Candied stems can be used for cake decoration. The leaves can be added to stewed fruit to reduce its acidity. The young aromatic leaves can also be used in salads, fish dishes and for flavouring of cooked puddings and jams. The roots are often used to flavour gin and liqueurs.

Harvesting Angelica: Pick the leaves and stems in late spring to mid summer, while still fresh and tender.

If you want to harvest the seeds, wait until they dry and turn yellow. Secure a paper bag around the flower heads and wait for the ripe seeds to fall off into the bag.

The roots can be harvested at the end of the first season or in the early spring of the second season.

Varieties of Angelica

Angelica archangelica is the main species grown as a herb. For sale at Crocus.