Aegopodium podagraria L.
Family - Apiaceae
Stems - From elongate rhizomes and fibrous roots, multiple from the base, herbaceous, with a strong "fennel" scent, glabrous, to 70cm tall.
Leaves - Basal leaves long-petiolate, bipinnately divided. Petiole to +40cm long, with a wide adaxial groove. Leaflets mostly glabrous or with a few short stiff hairs on the main veins below, ovate to oblong, serrate to doubly serrate, with impressed veins adaxially, 7-8cm long, 4-5cm broad, sometimes lobed again. Upper leaves reduced but similar to basals. Petioles loose sheathing at the base.
Inflorescence - Terminal pedunculate compound umbels. Peduncles glabrous, 8-10cm long. Rays 10-20, to 4cm long, glabrous. Umbellets with 10-20 raylets. Raylets to 6mm long in fruit, shorter in flower.
Flowers - Petals 5, white, spreading, glabrous, to 1.5mm long, 1mm broad, with an inflexed apiculate apex. Styles 2, -2mm long in flower, whitish, glabrous, expanded at base, divided all the way to the base. Stigmas capitate. Ovary inferior, green, glabrous, 1.1mm long in flower. Stamens 5, spreading, alternating with petals. Fruits slightly compressed, ellipsoid, glabrous, with a conspicuous groove between the locules, to +/-4mm long, 2-3mm broad. Styles recurved along the margins of the fruit.
Flowering - May - August.
Habitat - Waste ground, old homesites.
Origin - Native to Eurasia.
Other info. - This species can be found cultivated throughout Missouri but is rarely escaped in moist waste ground. The plant spreads quickly by rhizomes and can be invasive if left unchecked. It also thrives in shaded areas. Historically, the plant was used as a potherb, and also to treat arthritis and gout. A variegated variety, var. variegatum Bailey, is very common in cultivation.
Photographs taken in Marquette, MI., 7-28-02.