Awesome Angelica

Angelica, angelica atropurpurea, is undoubtedly the Drama Queen in our herb garden. At over five feet tall, it thrives in full to part sun.


Angelica is a biennial or short lived perennial. This means that the first year, it forms a ground-hugging rosette and doesn't reach its full size until its second year.

In its second year, it explodes out of the ground and here in Maine is producing yellow-green blooms in June. Bees and other pollinators love the flowers!!


Flowers soon become seeds. This seed head is close to a foot across!

By August the seed are dry and ready to harvest or replant. Angelica seed doesn't store well; if you want to keep it until spring, store it in the fridge. Or let it reseed itself. Angelica is a member of the parsley family - can you see the "Family Resemblance"?


Angelica is quite easy to grow. It does well in full or part sun and likes well drained ground. Like lavender, it is far less prone to winter killing if it is dry in the winter. Plants need to be three feet apart to allow for that second-year growth. Plant annual herbs between them the first year so you don't feel like you are wasting space!

Although the plants are very tall - and have hollow stems - we've found that it takes quite a lot to knock them over. A strong summer thunderstorm can damage them, but ordinarily they don't need support.

Angelica Recipes

True confession time: Our angelica is such a spectacular plant that we've never cut the stems to make candied angelica! We're too busy admiring its statuesque beauty. However, in case you are stronger than we are, we've included basic instructions, along with a few other uses.

As a member of the parsley family, angelica is related to fennel, carrots and celery. The flavor is sweet with a touch of anise. Young stems can be cooked like asparagus early in the season for a spring tonic!

Angelica Butter
Finely chop 1 tablespoon of angelica leaves and add them to 1/2 cup of butter. You can add some minced garlic or grated lemon peel, if the spirit moves you. Form in into a log and refrigerate. When it is chilled, you can add a pat to your favorite fish or grilled vegetable.

Candied Angelica Stems
Cut the hollow stalks and slice them into 1 inch pieces. Blanch them by dunking them in boiling water for a minute, then chill them quickly in cold water. Make a syrup of equal parts sugar and water - enough to cover the stems you've prepared - and gently cook them until the stems are translucent but not mushy. Remove the stems from the syrup and place on racks to dry.

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Hummingbird Farm
Brian and Cindy Tibbetts
202 Bean Street  Turner, Maine 04282
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