Levisticum officinale (85-95 days) Open-pollinated. An underrated herb with many uses. Leaves have a strong celery taste and can flavor soups, stews and casseroles. Crush seeds and add to bread and pastries; candy stems and roots in sugar syrup. Said to restore the appetite and revive the love of life. Second-year plants are best for drying. Formerly used to mask the bitter herbs in medicinal concoctions. Umbelliferous perennial attracts beneficial insects, grows 3–6' and makes a dramatic architectural element in a decorative border. Likes moist rich deep well-drained soil. Zone 4. ~140 seeds/g. Especially attractive to pollinators.②
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See Herb Chart in the sidebar for uses and cultural information.
About medicinal herbs: Archeological evidence dates the medicinal use of herbs back 60,000 years to the Neanderthals. 85% of the world’s population employ herbs as medicines, and 40% of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. contain plant-derived materials. Fewer than 10% of higher plant species have been investigated for their medicinal components. Interest in traditional herbal remedies continues to grow.
Statements about medicinal use of plants have not been evaluated by the FDA, and should not be used for the diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any ailment. Before using or ingesting any medicinal plant, consult a healthcare practitioner familiar with botanical medicine.
Using herbs: Drying herbs at home is not difficult. Whole leaves retain their flavor at least a year. To substitute fresh herbs for dried in cooking, use triple the dried quantity called for in a recipe.
Culture: Some herbs are customarily grown from divisions because they cannot come true from seed, such as scented thymes and flavored mints. Some require fall sowing of fresh seed, such as sweet cicely and angelica, and these become available in August or September.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.