Would you like Butter with that?Loyal readers of Incoming Bytes will recall our recent post and call for information and identification of an unknown plant, an invasive nuisance, an unknown intruder that we are blessed with. Or plagued with, depending on how you look at it.
We asked "What's this? "
Here is the original picture of the plant we were attempting to identify. The intruder:
Various helpful suggestions were made including sub-varieties of poison oak, poison ivy and other nasty plants . A common thread was "it looks familiar" and 'it looks poisonous', but nobody could quite put a finger on it.
I would like to, but I cannot take credit. Well, okay, my personal gardener, another green thumb type, to be specific--- discovered the identification, true nature, and characteristics of the intruder.
The plant is Aegopodium podagraria from the plant family Apiaceae .
Isn't that nice? What's that, you say? Eh?? Do you know what that is? I sure didn't !
It is commonly known as Ground Elder (by everybody except us, apparently) and is also known by various names such as Bishop's weed, Goutweed, Goutwort, 'Snow-on-the-Mountain', Garden Plague, and Herb Gerard! --( **and many other historical names, see below)
It is a perennial, and a variegated green/white version of the plant is sold for artistic, decorative ground cover. Here is our original variegated Ground Elder in the back yard :
|Variegated Ground Elder|
Apparently, the variegated version can revert to plain, old annoying GREEN Ground Elder!
Am I surprised now? Well....um........no.
We did plant the white variegated version in that location a number of years ago and for some reason it 'didn't show up' the following spring. We assumed it died. Transplanted stuff does that. No such luck. It seems the plain old green one appeared instead.
For further confirmation, both plants have the same triangular cross-sectioned stems, same leaves, same roots and plant structure. No wonder!
Here is what Ground Elder looks like 'officially', and the link gives the complete scoop on it.
You can even eat the stuff, it is a pot herb, it tastes a bit like celery. Cook it like spinach if you like, --but out in the garden, it's really hard to get rid of! The roots, flowers and seed pods are all identical to those observed on our intruder.
|*Ground Elder 1.0|
Now what? Did you know that variegated plants could change colors? Some flowers can too, in different soil, different environments! The soil in the problem area is different, quite acidic, and moss grows on the shaded, damp surface.
I guess there's not much point in trying to get rid of it. It's supposedly good medicine for gout and rheumatism too.
Hmm...it does taste a bit like celery or spinach, or 'something like that'.
I tried it.
Guess what? Food! The dried roots can even be ground up for flour. It is worth a buck!
**addendum: (2.0) Here's another great link with a lot more information about Ground Elder that was brought to my attention by W. Diane van Zwol : http://www.spookspring.com/Umbels/Ground_Elder.html
There are many historical additional traditional names, botanical data, uses and other information on Ground Elder in this link, so check it out! Thanks, W. Diane !
Is that incoming I hear?
1.0 Photo credit 'Ground Elder' and information courtesy of www.dgsgardening.btinternet.co.uk