Aegopodium podagraria – Ground Elder

Page Created by Connecticut Foraging Club
Upcoming Events | Meet the Instructors | Plant Archive | Mushroom Archive

Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is an edible, invasive plant in the carrot family.
Ground elder can be identified by its toothed, hairless leaves in groups of three. The plant grows less than a foot tall. The stalks are grooved and hairless, unlike Wild Carrot. In May-June, the plant sends up a flower stalk that grows 1-2 feet above the other foliage. The tiny white flowers contain five petals and are grouped in umbels. Ground elder has a celery-like scent when crushed.
Ground elder must be differentiated from Poison Hemlock, which grows up to 8 feet tall, lacks the celery-like smell when crushed, and usually has purple splotches on its stem.
Ground elder is best consumed in the spring, when the leaf shoots are a glossy green color, and the leaf has not yet unfolded. At this point, ground elder has a flavor reminiscent of parsley and celery.
The plant can be eaten raw or cooked. Once the leaves mature and become course and papery, they have a stronger flavor. After the plant flowers, it becomes a mild laxative with an unpleasant flavor and is best left alone.
Ground elder has been used medicinally as a treatment for gout.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *