The ground-elder is in the carrot family (Apiaceae) that grows in shady places. It is sometimes also cited as "ground elder", though this format invites confusion by suggesting it is a species of elder (Sambucus), an unrelated genus. It is also known as herb gerard, bishop's weed, goutweed, and snow-in-the-mountain. It is the type species of the genus Aegopodium.
The tender leaves have been used as a spring leaf vegetable, much as spinach was used. It has also been used to treat gout and arthritis. The plant is said to have been introduced into England by the Romans and into Northern Europe by monks.
In some areas, this plant is considered among the worst of weeds, as it readily spreads over large areas of ground by underground rhizomes. It is extremely invasive, and crowds out native species. The smallest piece of rhizome left in the ground will quickly form a sturdy new plant, followed by many more.
If a small plant finds its way into an ornamental perennial flower garden it will spread with vigor, resist all attempts at eradication, and make continued ornamental gardening there very difficult.
A variegated form is grown as an ornamental plant, though with the advice to keep it isolated. It is used as a food plant by the larvae of some species of Lepidoptera including dot moth, grey dagger and grey pug.
Killing Weeds; Gardening There Is No Point in Pretending That Weeds and Wild Flowers Are the Sa Me Thing, Says Sarah Raven. Bindweed, Ground Elder, Nettles and Brambles Make Gardeners' Lives a Misery, and Should Be Eradicated
May 09, 1999; I'M GETTING fed up with PC attitudes to weeds: a weed and a wild flower are not the same thing. Of course if I find a foxglove, a...
WAR ON WEEDS ; Japanese Knotweed, Ground Elder and Couch Grass Are among the Worst Weeds in the UK's Gardens. Hannah Stephenson Looks at How Best to Tackle These Troublesome Invaders
Jul 07, 2012; Icaught up with Alan Titchmarsh at the recent BBC Gardeners'' World Live show when he was giving advice on how to combat Japanese...