Some species are grown as flavoring agents or for their medicinal properties. The most notable of these is garden angelica (A. archangelica), which is commonly known simply as angelica. Natives of Lapland use the fleshy roots as food and the stalks as medicine. Crystallized strips of young angelica stems and midribs are green in colour and are sold as decorative and flavoursome cake decoration material, but may also be enjoyed on their own. The roots and seeds are sometimes used to flavor gin. Its presence accounts for the distinct flavor of many liqueurs, such as Chartreuse.
A. dawsonii was used by several first nations in North America for ritual purposes.
A. atropurpurea is found in North America from Newfoundland west to Wisconsin and south to Maryland, and was smoked by Missouri tribes for colds and respiratory ailments.[medical citation needed] This species is very similar in appearance to the poisonous water hemlock.
The boiled roots of angelica were applied internally and externally to wounds by the Aleut people in Alaska to speed healing.[medical citation needed]
Candied angelica is a popular cake decoration and flavouring.
Angelica can grow 5 to 8 feet tall, needs rich, moist, well-drained soil in partial shade. The seeds require light for germination, do not cover with soil if planning to establish plants. The plant will produce seeds only once, usually in its second or third year. If you cut the flowers back before they seed each summer, thus extending it’s life, the plant will continue to grow for years to come. Angelica is a biennial producing foliage the first year and stems and flowers the second. Flowers time is June to August. It dies back in the winter (no frost protection is necessary). Collect ripe seed in late summer and sow in early autumn. The seeds are fairly large and coated with a straw-like substance. Seeds turn from green to yellow when they are ready to be harvested. Not bothered by weeds, grows well in wild surrounded by other plants. Pruning is not necessary, but remove lower leaves if they wither.
The grooved, hollow stem is occasionally purplish at the top of the plant.
The leaves have enlarged convex sheaths at the base of the leafstalks and have 2 to 3 pinnate parts. They become smaller toward the top of the plant and are less clefted. The upper part of this herb is branchy. At the branch ends grow the inflorescences, 20- 40- radiate double umbels with bristly small leaves. The tiny greenish-white flowers smell of honey. Some angelica plants flower white blossoms or more rarely, pale-purple flowers. Oval fruits are ridged with thin lateral wings.
A. gigas (Korean angelica) is an exquisite ornamental introduced to the United States in the early 1980’s. All parts are a rich purple, including the deep-toned flowers. It’s an excellent contrast for finely textured tall grasses and combines well with colorful perennials.
Because it resembles celery in odor and appearance, angelica sometimes is known as wild celery. Seeds are available through catalogs, but young plants are more successfully cultivated. After the second year, propagate with offshoots and root cuttings. Roots can also be harvested in early fall of the second year. Full sun or partial shade; Zones 4-9.
Other varieties: Du Huo (A. pubescens); Dang gui (A. sinensis); Angelica (A. breweri); Masterwort (A. atropurpurea) also called angelica.
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