Angelica.

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Many of you are probably far more familiar with this plant, Angelica archangelica, than I am…I’d never set eyes on one before I spotted this massive specimen on the grounds of the Devonian Botanic Gardens in Devon, Alberta. (Maintained by the University of Alberta, the Gardens showcase pretty much every type of plant you can possibly grow in this province. My hubby and I took a tour a couple of weekends ago, but it will likely be awhile before I get through the volume of photos we shot. There will definitely be more posts about our trip!).

I find it fascinating that angelica is grown commercially (most notably in France) for the confectionary trade – apparently its stalks are candied and used to decorate cakes and other baking. I guess you can candy the leaves as well. (There is a recipe for candied angelica here, as well as some really interesting recipes involving reindeer meat and the herb). I also read that the stems and stalks are often eaten as vegetables, and that the seeds and roots are used to flavour liqueurs and gin. AND you can eat the flowerheads! What a versatile plant. If it wasn’t so insanely large (2 metres tall), I might consider finding a spot for it….  According to what I’ve read online, angelica tastes somewhat like celery – is that right?  In my head, I’m lumping it in with lovage, another Apiaceae family member.

A relative, A. sylvestris, is now on the noxious list of invasive plants in the Maritimes, and it is believed that it is only a matter of time before it makes its way west.  From what I’ve read, it appears that A. sylvestris grows wild in many parts of the world and it is often used as a forage plant.

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I’m curious to find out more about this plant! Do you grow or know anything about angelica?