Aegopodium podagraria



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Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’


Beautiful foliage groundcover for a difficult shaded garden area or pot. Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’ produces a carpet of emerald leaves, each broadly edged with white. Quickly forms a 20cm tall, thick, carpet of foliage. Very useful for pots or baskets in a heavily shaded areas, or under a veranda. It will quickly fill a decorative pot and make a lovely feature in Deep Shade.
Pure white, fine feathery blooms like “Queen Ann’s Lace” foam above the foliage in summer. These make pretty cut flowers for small vases.

Useful and tough plant

Useful for tough spots with low light levels Deep Shade, Dry Shade, and / or poor soil – where the difficult conditions keep it under control. But do not plant it in a fertile, favoured spot unless you are happy for it to take over. Best contained by a concrete edge, or in a pot on pavers, where it can’t escape. You can enjoy the lovely foliage and flowers then with a clear conscience, when you are content it cannot escape. Fortunately hot sun will stop it in its’ tracks. Despite all this – useful for those horrible, deeply shaded, “nothing else will grow” spots.

Ancient importance

Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’ was important as both food and medicine for centuries in Europe, and is believed to have been introduced by the ancient Roman colonists throughout their empire. Where the Romans went – they made sure they took it with them. Roots and leaves were boiled and used as a poultice to treat gout and arthritis. Hence another popular common name of “Bishop’s Goutweed” presumably because medieval bishops were more prone to the effects of high living. 

Tangy edible foliage

The Romans (as well as medieval Bishops) relished the tender young spring leaves as a cooked vegetable or salad, and as an essential soup ingredient. The tangy leaves added a zing. With summer flowering the leaves become more astringent tasting, but also more useful as a laxative, a diuretic, and a mild sedative in traditional medicine. So the while cooks harvested in the spring; the apothecaries harvested in the summer. Aegopodium was an essential in any monastery garden. It can still be seen growing wild on old monastery sites.  

Growing: Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’

Height with flowers: 20cm approx.
Width: As far as you let it go.
Position: Shade to Deep Shade. Tolerates Dry Shade.
Soil: Not fussy. Will thrive in a wide range of soils.

Fragrance: None
Frost: Very frost hardy, even in hard frosts below -10C.
Growth: Tough, thick ground-cover in difficult shaded and deeply shaded areas. Very useful in pots and containers for deeply shaded areas. But invasive in rich and well watered shade. Cannot tolerate hot sun.
Beneficial to wildlife: Bees are very fond of this beauty.

Beware: Invasive if planted in good garden conditions.
Care: Keep in a pot or hanging basket in the shade. Do not let it out into good garden conditions.
Deer & Rabbit resistant: Rabbits and deer seem to completely ignore it, probably because of the tangy, astringent taste that we humans quite like in our soup or salad.
Origin: Native to European deciduous woodlands and pine forests, and shaded wetland margins.


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