Goutweed
Aegopodium podagrariaApiaceae
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Fruit
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Photos (c) Cheryl Comeau Beaton unless otherwise noted

Synonyms:

  • Bishop's goutweed, Bishop's weed

The Plant:

  • A low-growing, herbaceous perennial. Stem erect, branched, 16-40 inches tall. A dense ground cover.

The Leaves:

  • oblong to ovate
  • long petioles on lower leaves
  • 9 irregular leaflets
  • toothed
  • upper leaves smaller, with short petioles
  • leaflets in 3s

The Stem:

  • upright
  • grooved
  • thin

The Flowers:

  • Small, white five-petaled flowers. Arranged in dense umbels 2 to 5 inches wide. Blooms from July to August.

The Fruits:

  • small, insignificant
  • green turning brown

The Habitat:

  • shady areas, including stream banks
  • moist, rich soils
  • seeps, floodplains

Dispersal:

  • moving water
  • animals
  • reproduces vegetatively by stolons

Key ID Features:

  • low
  • groundcover
  • long petioles
  • 9 leaflets
  • upper leaves in 3s
  • white umbels

Similar Species:

  • Golden Alexander (Zizia aurea) has similar leaves, but a loose yellow inflorescence.
  • Canadian honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis)
  • Aniseroot (Osmorhiza claytoni)

Notes:

  • Seen as a variegated form (Variegated Bishop's Goutweed) in landscapes and gardens. With its low creeping nature, Goutweed can completely take over the forest understories, eliminating native plants.
  • Planted in Maria Mitchell's garden, and likely elsewhere, but has not yet been reported outside of cultivation on Nantucket.

Growth Form: Herb

Origin: Europe

Level of Invasiveness for Nantucket: Potential Invasive

Level of Invasiveness for Massachusetts: Invasive

Massachusetts Cultivation Restrictions: importation ban July 2006, propagation ban January 2009




Credits: The Electronic Field Guide to the Invasive Plants of Nantucket (c) 2005-2006 Maria Mitchell Association, EFG Project, UMass Boston