Angelica archangelica is a majestic plant that deserves a prominent position at the back of a border or in a wild part of the garden. It loves woodland conditions, with plenty of moist shade, preferably near rivers or deposits of water. In their first year, plants produce leafy bushes, and then die down and disappear completely from sight in winter in their second year they reach full size.
Angelica makes an attractive backdrop for other plants, not only because of its height. Angelica's bright green leaves, made up of three finely toothed leaflets, and its stems also are a pleasing contrast in the garden. Angelica's long sturdy hollow stems are ribbed. Delicately coloured, they start out purple at the base and lighten to a pale yellow green.
All parts of the aromatic plant have culinary or medicinal uses, but it is best known for its candied stems, used as a cake decoration. The stems and seeds for use in confectionery and flavouring and the preparation of liqueurs. (e.g. Chartreuse, Bénédictine, Vermouth and Dubonnet). Angelica seeds and angelica roots are sometimes used in making absinthe.
Sowing: Sow as soon as possible.
Since Angelica seeds have both a low germination rate and the seed is comparatively short lived, we would recommend planting some of the seeds as early as possible in late winter to spring. Keep the remaining seeds sealed in their packs, in the fridge until late summer.
The seeds should be planted at 4°C (39°F) for 30 days, then moved to the warmth of around 18°C (65°F) for germination. At other times of year the temperatures can be simulated by placing the seed tray into a plastic bag and putting the whole lot into the fridge (4*C), then removing to the warmth of a cool room (18*C) Seeds may be also be sown directly where the plants are to grow in the Autumn.
Plant in trays or pots containing a good quality seed compost. Just cover the seeds as they need light to germinate. The seedlings should be transplanted when they have their first set of true leaves and are still small Young seedlings, but not older plants, are amenable to transplantation, so plant into their final positions at a distance of about 1m (3ft) apart.
Cultivate in ordinary deep, moist loam, in a shady position, the plant thrives best in a damp soil and loves to grow near running water. It can withstand an adverse environment well, and even endure severe winter frost without harm. Seedlings will even successfully develop and flower under trees, whose shelter creates an area of summer dryness, but, of course, though such conditions may be allowable when Angelica is grown merely as an ornamental plant, it should be given the best treatment as regards suitable soil and situation if grown for its culinary and medicinal use.
Angelica is mostly considered biennial but quite often doesn't bloom until third summer. It is monocarpic and after blooming and seeding, it dies away.
When grown for its roots, the roots will grow bigger if all the flower heads are cut away when they first appear. In its second year it produces some side shoots. These do not die away with their mother plant, they live on.
In the garden Angelica gives height to borders. It looks good with tall plants such as Verbena bonariensis, Cephalaria gigantea and Thalictrum
All parts of the plant can be used, it is merely a matter of when each part is at its peak. The roots are best in the autumn of the first year; the stems and leaves are at their peak in the spring of the second year; and the seeds are ready for use when mature.
Leaves, flowers, stems, and even seeds are edible. Many people in the cold Northern regions such as Siberia and Finland consider Angelica a vegetable, and eat the stems raw, sometimes spread with butter,
For a milder taste, try chopping the stems and roasting them with onions. This makes a wonderfully caramelised side dish for pork.
Angelica is most commonly associated with decorative cake confectionery found in supermarkets, being first discovered by the Danes. But this tastes vastly different to home-made, pale green, candied Angelica.
It has traditionally been used to flavour drinks such as Absinthe and gin.
The seeds have an aromatic musky flavour and are very good in soups, egg dishes and custards.
There are about thirty varieties of Angelica, but Angelica archangelica is the only one officially employed in medicine.
All parts of the plant have medicinal properties, and have long been used in the treatment of respiratory ailments, as well as an aid to digestion. Always consult a qualified herbal practitioner before using this plant medicinally, especially if pregnant.
Angelica deters hoverflies and is a good companion plant for members of the cabbage family.
It should not be planted close to Dill or other members of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae).
Angelica should not be confused with the similar, but very toxic Pastinaca sativa, the Wild Parsnip!
A native of Europe, Asia and North America, in the 15th century Angelica was highly prized for its medicinal properties. It was first introduced here in 1618 by John Tradescant the Elder, an English naturalist, gardener, collector and traveller, probably born in Suffolk, England.
On all his trips he collected seeds and bulbs everywhere and assembled a collection of curiosities of natural history and ethnography which he housed in a large house, "The Ark," in Lambeth, London. The Ark was the prototypical "Cabinet of Curiosity", a collection of rare and strange objects, that became the first museum open to the public in England, the Musaeum Tradescantianum. He also gathered specimens through American colonists, including his personal friend John Smith, who bequeathed Tradescant a quarter of his library.
From their botanical garden in Lambeth, on the south bank of the Thames, he and his son, John, (John Tradescant the Younger), introduced many plants into English gardens that have become part of the modern gardener's repertory.
A genus of flowering plants (Tradescantia) is named to honour him.
Tradescant Road, off South Lambeth Road in Vauxhall, marks the former boundary of the Tradescant estate.
He was buried in the churchyard of St-Mary-at-Lambeth, as was his son; the churchyard is now established as the Museum of Garden History.
The genus name Angelica is Latin for 'angelic,' referring to the medicinal properties of the plant.
The species name archangelica comes from the Greek word arkhangelos meaning 'arc' and 'angel', due to the myth that it was the archangel Michael who told of its use as medicine.
When Linnaeus invented the binomial system of nomenclature, he gave the specific name 'officinalis' to plants (and sometimes animals) with an established medicinal, culinary, or other use. The word officinalis is derived from the Latin officina meaning a storeroom (of a monastery) for medicines and necessaries. It literally means 'of or belonging in an officina', and that it was officially recognised as a medicinal herb. It conjures up images of a storeroom where apothecaries and herbalists stored their herbs.
This biennial plant is a member of the Apiaceae, the carrot family and is commonly known as Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery or Norwegian Angelica.
Synonyms include Archangelica officinalis and Archangelica officinalis var. himalaica.
Angelica has the meaning of 'inspiration' - this tall and elegant herb is praised in folklore as a wonderful medicinal cure-all remedy. There are many different stories explaining how Angelica got such a holy name. One such story tells of a monk back in 1665 who met an angel in his dreams. The angel told him of a plant that could cure the plague. The monk took the advice and boiled angelica, treacle and nutmeg together into a tea. However, none of the sources mention how successful this treatment was.
Another theory on the origin of the name speculates that the plant derives it name from the fact that Angelica comes into bloom around May 8th, the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 160 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram 160 to 230 seeds per gram Common Name Holy Ghost, Archangelica officinalis Other Common Names Wild Celery, Norwegian Angelica Other Language Names IR. Gallfheabhrán Family Apiaceae Genus Angelica Species archangelica Synonym Archangelica officinalis var. himalaica Hardiness Hardy Biennial Flowers Off white Natural Flower Time June to July Height 200cm (72in) Spread 120cm (44in) Position Partial shade, Shade Germination 21 to 30 days