Native to northern Europe; grows stout, vibrant green foliage in the first year then sends up impressive, large umbels of white-greenish starburst flowers the following season. Has many uses in the kitchen along with a long traditional history as an herbal remedy. Leaves can be used to flavor poultry and fish, while stems can be stewed with apples and rhubarb or made into candy and preserves. Seeds are added to flavor vermouth and gin; in Iceland, it even was once considered a currency in trade. Historically it has been used for stomach and respiratory ailments, and as a herbal tonic for blood and circulation. Prefers cool climates, semi-shaded areas, and moist fertile conditions. Spreads 2-4’ wide and grows to 5-7 feet.
Biennial, Hardy to Zones 4-9
Germination: up to 30 days
Germination Temperature: Optimum soil temperatures 65-75ºF
Seed Planting Depth: Sow on the surface and lightly cover the seed.
Starting Indoors: Cold treat seed by sowing into moist soil or paper towel, wrap in a clear plastic bag and place in the refrigerator for 30 days. Provide 50-55ºF soil temperatures until germination. Using peat, cow, or paper pots can help with the stress of transplanting, they grow delicate roots and successful transplanting may be challenging.
Sowing Outdoors: Spring or fall. Sow a few seeds every 12-24"
Growth Habit: Upright, branching
Height and Width: 4-7' x 2-4'
Spacing: 8-12” apart
Light Needs: Prefers part shade but can handle full sun in cooler areas
Soil Needs: Fertile and moist
Uses: Culinary and medicinal, Flowers attract bees and beneficials.
Care: Pinching back seedlings encourages branching, resulting in more leaves. Harvest regularly to keep the plant producing new leaves.