Goutweed, Bishop's weed
FULL SCIENTIFIC NAME
Aegopodium podagraria L.
FAMILY NAME COMMON
FAMILY SCIENTIFIC NAME
Synonyms: Aspris caryophyllea (L.) Nash
Aegopodium podagraria is a creeping, herbaceous perennial that can grow to be 40 cm-1 m (15.7-39.4 in.) tall. The basal and lower leaves have long petioles. There are usually 9 leaflets per lower leaf, although this can vary. Each leaflet is ovate with an acute or acuminate apex. The bases of these leaflets can be rounded or cordate. The lower leaflets are 3-8 cm (1-3 in.) long and have a serrate margin. The upper leaflets are similar to the lower leaflets, but are smaller and ternate in their arrangement, and have shorter petioles. The horticultural variety usually grown (Aegopodium podagraria var. variegatum) has white margins on its leaves. The white flowers are arranged in umbels that are 6-12 cm (2.25-4.75 in.) in diameter. Each umbel is borne on a long peduncle, and has 15-25 rays that are about 2.5 cm (1 in.) or more in length. The flowers of Aegopodium podagraria appear in June. The brown fruits oblong-ovoid, laterally flattened and 3-4 mm (0.12-0.16 in.) long. Page References Bailey 754, Fernald 1097, Gleason & Cronquist 371, Holmgren 347, Magee & Ahles 797. See reference section below for full citations.
Aegopodium podagraria reproduces vegetatively via stolons, and can spread aggressively when its root zone is unrestricted. New plants easily grow from stolons that become detached. Most seeds fall to the ground, and account for only a small portion of this plant's spread. Some seeds may also be passively dispersed by moving water or by animals.
Aegopodium podagraria is native to Europe. In the U.S. it is found throughout the East and Midwest, and also the northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming. It is found in all the states of New England.
HISTORY OF INTRODUCTION IN NEW ENGLAND
Aegopodium podagraria was probably brought to New England as an ornamental foliage plant, but then easily escaped to naturalize along roadsides, waste places and cultivated ground. W.W. Bailey reported its presence in Providence, Rhode Island in 1863 (J. of the Torrey Botanical Society 1876, Vol.3: 176). It was noted in the early 1870's in both New York and New Jersey. It was listed as present in the Bangor, Maine region by 1906 (Rhodora, 1906, Vol. 8: 72).
HABITATS IN NEW ENGLAND
Agricultural Field, Edge, Open Disturbed Area, Pasture, Roadside, Vacant Lot, Yard or Garden. Aegopodium podagraria does well in partial sun to full shade, with a preference for well-drained, evenly moist soils. It is tolerant of poor soils and can grow in a wide range of soil pH values.
Digging up this plant can often be counterproductive as fragmentation of the root system stimulates reproduction via the stolons. The non-variagated form is particularly aggressive.
Plant Conservation Alliance fact sheet - Includes management information.
Documentation required: A specific photograph or mounted snippet of the leaves. Best time for documentation: Summer, fall.
Plant Conservation Alliance - Fact sheet with description and control information
Integrated Taxonomic Information System - Taxonomic information about the species
The PLANTS Database - General information and map
Ohio State University - Description of the plant in a horticultural setting
Bailey, L. H. 1949. Manual of Cultivated Plants. Macmillan, New York.
Britton, N. L. and A. Brown. 1970. An Illustrated Flora of the Northeastern United States vol. 2. Dover Publications Inc., New York.
Dlussky, G.M. 1998. Mechanisms of competition for pollinators in Anthriscus sylvestris Hoffm. and Aegopodium podagraria L. (Apiaceae). Zhurnal Obshchei Biologii 59 (1): 24-44.
Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's Manual of Botany 8th ed. American Book Co., Boston.
Gleason, H.A. and A.C. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of the Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. 2nd ed. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Holmgren, N.H. 1998. Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.
Magee, D.W and H.E. Ahles. 1999. Flora of the Northeast. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst.
USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1. (//plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.