Angelica is a lovely looking plant with its lacy foliage so do not be afraid to plant it in the perennial garden (but at the back – it’s not “that” attractive and you’re going to be digging it and dividing it every year) I note it will self-sow if you let the seed heads mature.
- Sun: sun or light shade
- Spacing apart: 24 to 36-inches
- Height: 48-inches
- Propagation: buy first plant and it will self-sow after that – seed is short-lived and has to be sown immediately after harvest.
- Harvesting: harvest ripe seeds or fresh leaves and tender stalks for drying and use
I recommend you start with a purchased plant or a seedling from a friend. The seeds can be notoriously difficult to germinate depending on their age and very-fresh seeds are best. Once your plant is established, natural seeding should give you a reasonable supply of new plants to share.
The first year plant will likely only grow leaves but by the second year, it will easily hit 6-feet tall in a normal garden soil and produce umbels (like dill) of white blooms followed quickly by seeds.
The plant is found worldwide in the northern regions and has about 60 species associated with it. The most commonly used garden herb in North America is Angelica archangelica but the other species all have their uses in the native populations – from medicine to making musical instruments from the stems. I also love the scent the crushed leaves give off as I work around them in the garden.
The fleshy roots are edible while crystallized strips are often found in confectionary stores or sold as baking flavorings as well as giving some brands of gin a distinct taste. It has a licorice taste.
An Old Recipe from One of My Older Gardening Books
I understand you can preserve your own Angelica by using this recipe:
- Cut stem into 4-inch pieces
- Let sit in salt-water brine for 12 hours
- Take a clean non-metal pan – put a layer of cabbage leaves on bottom. Then a layer of angelica – do not let the pieces touch. Then another layer of cabbage leaves, then angelica. Repeat until pot is filled or angelica supply exhausted.
- Cover with a vinegar/water solution (no idea about strength of it) and boil until the angelica goes quite green.
- Take out the angelica and weigh it.
- For every pound of angelica, add one pound of water to just enough water to dissolve it (a thick syrup) Bring sugar syrup to a boil.
- Put angelica in bowl and pour syrup over it until it is covered.
- Let it sit covered overnight or 12-hours and then bring the angelica and syrup to a boil and cook it until the angelica is tender.
After tender, you can either put the entire mix in a jar (angelica and syrup) or remove angelica, dry and roll in sugar. When the angelica cools, it will turn harder into a candy form.
‘it cureth the bitings of mad dogs and all other venomous beasts.‘