Aegopodium podagraria (Goutweed)
Species: A. podagraria
Binomial name: Aegopodium podagraria
Synonyms: Aegopodium angelicifolium, Aegopodium simplex, Aegopodium ternatum, Aegopodium tribracteolatum, Apium biternatum, Apium podagraria, Carum podagraria
Common names: Goutweed, Bishop's weed, Ground elder, Herb gerard, Gout wort, Snow-in-the-mountain, English masterwort, Wild masterwort
Aegopodium podagraria is a creeping, perennial plant in the carrot family (Apiaceae) that grows in shady places. It is native to Europe, Asia Minor, Caucasia, Siberia and it has been introduced around the world as an ornamental plant. In many countries including New Zealand, it has become an aggressive, invasive plant that is difficult to eradicate. Most intentional plantings spread to neighbouring natural areas. It is also spread by the dumping of garden waste that includes discarded rhizomes. Aegopodium podagraria poses an ecological threat as it crowds out native species.
Aegopodium podagraria is a stout, erect herb with hollow, grooved stems that grow to a height of 100 cm. The elder-like, upper leaves are ternate, broad and toothed.
The flowers are in umbels, terminal with rays 15 - 20, with small white flowers. In New Zealand flowering occurs from November to April.
The fruits are small and have long curved styles.
Aegopodium podagraria readily spreads over large areas of ground by long, slender underground rhizomes that develop new shoots.
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