LOVAGE (Levisticum officinale)

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LOVAGE (Levisticum officinale)

All parts of this plant are useful. The leaves and stems are used as a celery substitute in soups, salads, stews, sauces, and with vegetables and poultry. The stems can also be candies, or blanched and served as a vegetable. Try sprinkling the seed over meat, candy, bread, or cookies, and use the roots to make tea.

This is a hardy perennial herb that grows 6 to 7 feet tall. Because of its height, it is useful as a background plant. The large, deeply divided leaves resemble celery and have a similar odor. Small yellow flowers in flat-topped clusters appear in early spring. This herb reseeds itself readily.

Lovage grows best in a rich, moist soil in full sun or in partial shade. Sow fresh seed in the fall, or divide established plants in spring. Space plants 3 feet apart. The leaves are best used when young and tender, but can be harvested anytime before seed sets. Dig the roots anytime you want them and use fresh.

SOURCE: James C. Schmidt Department of Horticulture Michigan State University

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