Name: Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)
Other names: ground elder, herb gerard, bishop's weed, goutweed, gout wort, and snow-in-the-mountain, and sometimes called English masterwort and wild masterwort
Higher classification: Goutweed
Description: A. podagraria is perennial, growing to a height of 100 cm (39 in) with rhizomes. The stems are erect, hollow and grooved. The upper leaves are ternate, broad and toothed. Numerous flowers are grouped together in an umbrella-shaped flowerhead known as a compound umbel. The main umbel is further divided into several secondary umbels known as umbellets or umbellules. Each umbellet has 15 to 20 rays (pedicels) that are each topped with a single, small, five-petaled white flower.
Distribution: Aegopodium podagraria is distributed widely in the temperate zone of western Eurasia, from France to northern Russia. It has been introduced elsewhere, including Ireland, Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia including Tasmania, New Zealand, and Japan.
Fun fact: Seed dispersal and seedling establishment is typically limited by shading, and new establishments from seed are restricted to disturbed areas. However, Aegopodium podagraria readily spreads over large areas of ground by underground rhizomes. Once established, the plants are highly competitive, also in shaded environments, and can reduce the diversity of ground cover, and prevent the establishment of tree and shrub seedlings.
Dymadex's entries on plants, living organism of the kind exemplified by trees, shrubs, herbs, grasses, ferns, and mosses.
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