Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

Angelica Sp. - Angelica

Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) Carrot [E-flora]

"Habit: Perennial herb, taprooted. Stem: erect, leafy, hollow. Leaf: petioles sheathing, cauline sheaths often inflated, bladeless; blades compound (dissected), leaflets generally wide, distinct. Inflorescence: umbels compound, peduncled; bracts 0; bractlets 0 or many and conspicuous; rays, pedicels many, spreading-ascending to ascending. Flower: calyx lobes 0 or minute; petals wide, white, pink, red, or purple. Fruit: oblong to round, generally compressed front-to-back (± compressed or cylindric), glabrous to hairy; ribs unequal, winged but marginal generally wider than others; oil tubes 1–several per rib-interval, adhering to fruit wall (to seed); fruit axis divided to base. Seed: face flat.
50–60 species: temperate North America, Asia. (Latin: angelic, for cordial and medicinal properties)" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Angelica arguta - sharptooth angelica [E-flora]
  2. Angelica genuflexa - kneeling angelica [E-flora]
  3. Angelica lucida - seacoast angelica [E-flora]

Taxanomic Key to Angelica


wild celery (Angelica species); bent-leaf angelica (A. genuflexa); sea-coast angelica, A. lucida; "Though wild angelica is still eaten extensively in many areas of Alaska, one source reported that the herb is harvested around Wales but avoided near Nome. In a St. Marys inter- view, I was told angelica is avoided because "the difference can no longer be told between wild celery and poison hemlock." The problem is not yet clearly attributable to hybridization, peculiar soil conditions causing toxicity, or identification difficulties." [Schofield]


Angelica arguta - sharptooth angelica

"General Perennial herb from a taproot; stems erect, 0.5-2.0 m tall." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Wet to moist streambanks, meadows and open forests in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent in extreme S BC; E to AB and S to WY, UT and N CA." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]



Angelica genuflexa - kneeling angelica

"Angelica genuflexa is a PERENNIAL growing to 1 m (3ft 3in). It is not frost tender. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil." [PFAF]

"General Stout perennial herb from a taproot; stems 1-3 m, glabrous, hollow, arising from erect, tuberous, chambered stem-base, often purplish and glaucous." [IFBC-E-flora]

"Habitat / Range Moist streambanks and open forests in the montane zone; common throughout BC, infrequent in the Queen Charlotte Islands and the adjacent coast; amphiberingian, N to AK, E to AB and S to N CA; E Asia." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

Ecological Indicator Information
"A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Asian and Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in cool temperate and cool mesothermal climates on wet to very wet, nitrogen-rich soils (Moder and Mull humus forms): its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Common in open-canopy red alder, Sitka spruce, and western redcedar stands on water-collecting sites with gleysolic or organic soils. Often associated with Athyrium filix-femina and Lysichitum americanum. Inhabits depressions with a surface groundwater table. A nitrophytic species characteristic of nutrient-rich wetlands." (Information applies to coastal locations only) [IPBC-E-flora]


"All members of this genus contain furocoumarins, which increase skin sensitivity to sunlight and may cause dermatitis[238]." [PFAF]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Medicinal Uses

"Bella Coola: Roots boiled and decoction taken internally as a purgative. Not an emetic. Sometimes used raw, but never roasted.
Gitksan: Roots well boiled with twigs of squashberry (Viburnum pauciflorum Raf.) from which the bark had not been removed, and decoction taken internally for headache and weak eyes."[????]


"Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe since the seed only has a short viability[200]. Seed can also be sown in the spring, though germination rates will be lower. It requires light for germination[200]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in the spring. The seed can also be sow in situ as soon as it is ripe." [PFAF]

"We have very little information on this species and do not know how hardy it will be in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Requires a deep moist fertile soil in dappled shade or full sun[200]. Plants are reliably perennial if they are prevented from setting seed[200]." [PFAF]


Angelica lucida - seacoast angelica

"Habitat / Range
Moist to mesic beaches, coastal bluffs and meadows in the lowland to subalpine zones; common in and W of the Coast-Cascade Mountains, infrequent eastward; amphiberingian, N to AK and S to CA; E. Asia." [IFBC-E-flora]

Origin Status: Native [E-flora]

General: "Stout perennial herb from a strong taproot and partitioned stem-base; stems erect, single, 0.5-1.4 m tall." [IFBC-E-flora]


"Do not confuse this plant with water-hemlock (Cicuta spp.), a related plant which is highly toxic. Oswalt (1957) reports that the green leaves of one species of water-hemlock (C. mackenzieana) were cooked in water with fresh fish by Western Eskimo of Alaska, but the plant was otherwise not used. The roots were never eaten, and were considered poisonous to people, although small rodents are said to eat them. Considering the known toxicity of this plant, its use as food is not recommended under any circumstances." [????]

Edible Uses

Other Uses

Ceremonial Use

"Formerly the dried stems with the top of the plant intact were gathered both in the early winter and upon certain ceremonial occasions, the details of which were not recalled ; the tops were set afire inside the houses and the burning stems shaken around inside and outside the house in order to purify the dwelling." [Oswalt Eskimo]

"Wild celery, apart from being a food, is one of the most important ceremonial plants used by the Kuskokwim River Eskimos. It was important in the purifying ritual described above for Napaskiak and was the focus of attention in an early winter ceremony described for Ohogamiut (Oswalt, field notes) on the middle Kuskokwim River. The essence of this previously unreported ritual is that two men are sent out to bring in bundles of wild celery. The plants reportedly call to the men and indicate that they want to be gathered. After large bundles are collected, the men return with them to the kas1l.'gee (ceremonial sructure); the stalks are divided among the young men, each of whom puts a small bundle of the stalks above his sleeping place in the kash'gee. The plant roots are said to represent each man's partner from the underworld and appear to represent spirits of the dead. During four days of feasting the plants are fed at each meal ; on the fifth day each young man dances with his bundle of stalks, and then adult men take the bundles and set them afire. They shake the blazing stalks over the dancer, and after they have burned out, each young man is given the remains of his bundle to take outside. On the ground he separates the individual stalks and makes them into the form of some animal." [Oswalt Eskimo]

"On Nunivak Island the gathering of wild celery is part of the Bladder Feast; the plant is used in much of the ceremonial activity, which includes young men dancing with the stalks (Lantis, 1946, pp. 184-7). In his summary of the Bladder Feast, Weyer (1932, pp. 340-43) mentions wild parsnips being gathered, dried, and burned to purify the bladders and the man. This is no doubt the plant which I have termed wild celery, Angelica lucida L., since the Eskimo name for it is recorded as i-ki-tiik, which is nearly identical with iki'tttk at Napaskiak." [Oswalt Eskimo]

Seed and Pericarp
Mass of 1,000, g: 6.0
Oil, % dry wt: 18.2
Iodine value, % J2: 111.0 [LLCEOPS]

Coelopleurum actaeifolium (Michx.) J.M. Coult. & Rose
Coelopleurum gmelinii (DC.) Ledeb.
Coelopleurum lucidum (L.) Fernald
Coelopleurum lucidum subsp. gmelinii (DC.) A. Löve & D. Löve [E-flora]


Other Non-local Species

Species Mentioned:

"In Chinese medicine, at least 10 Angelica species are used, including A. dahurica (Fisch.) Benth. et Hook., A. anomala Lalem., A. formosana Boiss., and A. sinensis (Oliv.) Diels; the latter, known as danggui or dong quai (see following), is widely used in treating female ailments in China" [Leung ECNI]

"Angelica sylvestris Linnaeus, wild angelica
Europe, northern and south-western Asia; introduced into Canada
Less rich in active properties than garden angelica (Angelica archangelica Linnaeus), the common native counterpart, A. sylvestris, may have served as a poor man’s stand-in for that. Considering how strongly garden angelica was recommended in the herbals and official medicine, however, folk records for the wild plant are surprisingly few, yet surprisingly various: for lung and chest complaints in Londonderry,119 for rheumatism120 and corns121 in Norfolk and as a spring tonic (under the name ‘horse pepper’) in Suffolk.122 But was it really so neglected in the north and west or has its presence in the records from there lay hidden behind unidentified names?" [MPFT]


Angelica - Angelica archangelica


"A native of continental Europe, this herb can be found along river banks and in other damp sites. Take care not to confuse it with poisonous hemlock (Conium maculatum), which has white flowers and purple spots on the stem, and leaves that produce a foul smell when crushed. The origin of the species name, Angelica archangelica, derives from the story of a monk who, when praying for a cure to the plague, was visited by St. Michael the Archangel, and shown this herb. Angelica has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is also one of the flavorings in alcoholic drinks such as gin." [Mcvicar GH]

Food Use

"Sinclair (1953) states that the Canadian Inuit eat the stalks of Angelica archangelica; since this species is restricted to eastern Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland, other Angelica species might also be implicated."[Turner&Kuhnlein]

"Stems of second-year growth can be candied or cooked with stewed fruit. Young leaves can be chopped up and added to salads, soups, and stir-fry dishes. The seeds are used in Moroccan cooking." [Mcvicar GH]

Seeds: "Seeds and dry leaves are marketed as a flavoring." [Schofield]


Other Use

Medicinal Use

Production: "Angelica seed consists of the fruit of Angelica archangelica, which is harvested from July onward. After drying in the air or in ovens, the umbels are threshed to separate the seeds. Angelica herb consists of the aboveground parts of Angelica archangelica. Angelica root is the dried root and rhizome of Angelica archangelica." [PDR]

"Angelica is used to treat indigestion, anemia, coughs, and colds; a tea made from the young leaves helps alleviate nervous headaches." [Mcvicar GH]







"A hardy biennial, angelica make an impressive backdrop presence in the garden. It can grow to 6 feet, with sturdy hollow stems and yellow-green flowers that resemble huge dill heads. All parts of the parts of the plant are aromatic; even the root is used for tea." [NSSH Bubel]
"Days to Germination: Within 4 weeks at 60 0F to 700F (160C to 21 0C), but seeds must be fresh." [NSSH Bubel]
"When to Plant: Angelica seeds are very short-lived. They’ve been known to keep over winter in an airtight refrigerated container, but the best plan is to sow them in late summer as soon as they mature." [NSSH Bubel]
"How to Plant: The seeds need light for germination, so just press them into the soil surface. A period of moist chilling also helps to germinate angelica seeds. Fall-sown seeds will receive this treatment naturally outdoors. For spring sowing, plant the seeds on a bed of damp sphagnum moss and keep the planting in the refrigerator for several weeks before exposing it to warmth and light. Angelica appreciates rich soil. Set plants 3 feet apart in a spot sheltered from wind, if possible." [NSSH Bubel]

"PROPAGATION Sow fresh seeds immediately because they remain viable for only three months after harvesting. In early fall, sow in the ground or into seed-plug trays (see page 43) that are placed outside, exposed to all weathers. Seedlings are hardy and do not need protection from frost. Mature plants do not transplant well." [Mcvicar GH]
"SITE Plant in deep moist soil, making sure the roots will be in shade and the flowers in sun. This is a good architectural plant and gives structure to an herb garden. It is not an ideal potted plant because of its height—up to 8 ft (2.5 m)." [Mcvicar GH]
"MAINTENANCE Make sure that seedlings and plants do not dry out. Keep well-watered in hot summers. Collect seeds for sowing in late summer. Cut the seedheads off before they drop onto the soil, or you will be inundated with seedlings. In exposed sites, stake long stems to prevent them from breaking." [Mcvicar GH]
"HARVESTING In late spring or early summer, pick young, soft leaves to use fresh. Cut the stems of second-year growth in late spring before the flower heads form to use fresh or preserve as a candy. Collect ripe seeds in early fall." [Mcvicar GH]


Page last modified on Friday, March 12, 2021 9:43 AM