ANGELICA (Angleica archangelica)

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ANGELICA (Angleica archangelica)

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Every part of this plant is aromatic and useful. The leaves and stalks can be added to salads, cooked like spinach, or used in stews and soups. The stems and petioles are often candied and used as a garnish for cakes. The oil from the seeds is used in perfumes and to flavor custard, vermouth, and liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Benedictine. The plant parts are best used fresh, rather than dried.

Angelica is a coarse-textured biennial that grows 5 to 6 feet tall and 3 feet wide. It is easily grown from seed and produces a basal rosette of leaves the first year; flowering and seed production occur the second year. The stems are thick, hollow, and purple at the base. The small greenish white flowers occur in 6-inch umbels in early summer, followed by 1/2-inch, straw-textured, yellow fruit.

Plant the seed 1/4 inch deep in a moist, partially shaded, slightly acid soil. Sow them as soon as they ripen in late summer because they ten to lose their ability to germinate after 2 weeks. To ensure flowering plants each year, sow seed in successive seasons. Angelica can also be propagated by means of offshoots from second-year plants and by division of old root clumps.

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

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