Plants grown in northern gardens: Garden Angelica

Garden Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is a large perennial herb. The stem is robust and the whole plants has a strong fragrance. The flowers are greenish white in compound umbels. In Iceland, this species grows on sea cliffs and in lush vegetation, as well as good shelter in the mountains.

Garden Angelica is an edible plant and while growing wild it is also cultivated as a food plant and for decoration in gardens. All parts of the plant are used except the flower heads. The young stems can eaten fresh or cooked. Fresh leaves are used for salads and the dried or fresh leaves in tea. The roots and seed are also used. The plant is also used as a soothing skin ointment.

The related, Wild Angelica (Angelica sylvestris), has a mild fragrance. This is a robust plant with a hollow stem and unlike Garden Angelica its stem is partly hairy. The flowers are white or pinkish. Wild Angelica is grown in gardens for decoration, but thrives best in the wild in crevices and woodlands.

Both species are common all over Iceland, they are quite tolerant of frost and are found in many places, especially on land that is protected from grazing.

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