Levisticum officinale (Angelica paludapifolia, Hipposelinum levisticum, Ligusticum levisticum) | Garden Lovage
Garden Lovage, also called Common Lovage, Love Parsely, Carrot Parsley, Maggi Herb, and Bladderseed, is a tall, aromatic perennial herb in the Carrot family that has a celery-like odor and a carrot-like root structure. It has been cultivated for thousands of years and was a common sight in medieval monasteries and farm gardens. At one time, Lovage seeds were as expensive as black pepper.
Being a vigorous spring perennial, once the weather warms up, Lovage will be one of the first to grow, sending up thick, towering stalks with sprays of umbel flowers that reach 6-8 ft tall under optimal conditions. The yellow-green flower clusters are beautiful and attract many unusual, but native pollinators.
Levisticum officinale is considered a good companion plant for root vegetables because it’s said to promote their growth.
With Lovage, all parts of the plant are both edible and delicious and are loaded with vitamins A and C. Its flavor is described as an intensely flavored mix of anise, celery and parsley, but grows better than all of them. Its leaves were once popular as a salad green before celery became more commonly available. And much like Parsley, they are also considered to be an aphrodisiac.
Today the leaves are used as both a culinary herb and vegetable, the roots as a vegetable, and the seeds as a spice. The roots are grated into salads like carrots, or cooked and used as a root vegetable, being especially hearty after oven roasting. The stems can be cut in the spring, blanched, and eaten as a vegetable. The leaves can be chopped and added to any dish that calls for celery, including salads, sandwiches, stews, egg salad, potato salad, and more. Seeds are used as a spice and chewed as a digestive aid, similar to fennel seeds, and can even be used when ground, as a substitute for salt.
Sun exposure: Full sun to light shade
Mature height: 6-8 ft
Mature width: 4-5 ft
Hardiness zones: 4-9