Ground Elder

Aegopodium podagraria

Ground elder

Ground elder (Aegopodium podagraria) is a fast-growing, invasive, perennial weed that can spread quickly to form a carpet of foliage that will crowd out less-vigorous plants in beds and borders.

Leaves

Toothed, ovate and usually in groups of three, two lower ‘leaves’ can be seen to be splitting to appear as five leaves in some specimens. Light green, shiny and translucent when young becoming dark green with a matt finish.

Ground elder leaves

Flowers

Tiny white flowers on an umbel (umbrella shaped) that appear from May to June.

ground elder flowers

Preferred Habitat

Beds, borders, new lawns, all soil types.

Weed Control

Tackling large infestations of ground elder in a well-planted bed can be difficult. To get rid of it completely requires time and patience.

  1. Lift cultivated plants and carefully remove and destroy any pieces of ground elder rhizome from around their roots.
  2. After you are sure it has all been removed, replant your garden plants in clean soil or pots.
  3. The ground elder can now be evicted by digging, or by covering the ground with black polythene to starve the weed of light. It may take several seasons until the ground elder is completely destroyed.

In new lawns, ground elder will usually be starved by repeated mowing, and should not persist for long.

Not Just a Weed

Traditionally it was used as a poultice to treat gout. Can also be used in cooking as a soup or eat the leaves softened in butter.

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At Vialii, we are strong proponents of organic gardening and try to avoid weedkiller if we can. To many people, weeds are wonderful things, whether they are grown as pretty wildflowers or for their health benefits. But we understand they can be frustrating in gardens so our Weedipedia pages detail our most common weeds, how to identify & get rid of them but also their benefits too. If you need help getting rid of your own weeds please get in touch. 


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