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Angelica was supposedly revealed to the 14th Century physician Mattheus Sylvaticus by the archangel as a medicinal plant, hence the common name of archangel and subsequent specific epithet archangelica given by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. In the 17th Century the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote '...some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others more moderate called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues...'

Angelica archangelica (angelica)

[KSP]

Kew Species Profiles

General Description
Well-known as a decoration for cakes and puddings, angelica is a tall, aromatic herb that has been cultivated since ancient times.

Angelica was supposedly revealed to the 14th Century physician Mattheus Sylvaticus by the archangel as a medicinal plant, hence the common name of archangel and subsequent specific epithet archangelica given by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. In the 17th Century the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote '...some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others more moderate called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues...'

Angelica has a long history of cultivation for use as a medicine, flavouring agent and vegetable. As an ornamental, angelica is a striking herb, providing height and structure. Its stems were the inspiration for the fluted, Doric columns of Ancient Greece. The root was believed to protect against plague and other infectious diseases as well as easing the symptoms of a range of ailments.

Species Profile
Geography and distribution

Angelica archangelica is native to north and northeast Europe, Russia, Iceland, Greenland and the Himalayas. It is also widely cultivated and frequently naturalised in northern temperate regions, including the UK.

Description

Overview: An aromatic, perennial herb that grows up to 2 m tall. It has a thick taproot and bright green, hollow stems, which are sometimes tinged with purple.

Angelica archangelica herbarium specimen collected in Kent in 1910.

Leaves:  Up to 70 cm long with broad sheaths at the base. Divided into leaflets (2 or 3 pinnate).

Flowers: Borne in large, globose umbels 10-14 cm across. Each flower is very small (4 mm across) with white or greenish petals.

Fruits: Small, dry, straw-coloured schizocarps (fruits that split into portions known as mericarps) up to 9 mm long with prominent ridges. Each fruit splits into two mericarps (seed-containing portions), a characteristic of this plant family (Apiaceae).

Angelica is a hapaxanthic perennial, in that each year's growth dies back to ground level after flowering and fruiting, to be replaced by fresh growth the following year.

Two subspecies of this herb are sometimes recognised. Angelica archangelica subspecies archangelica has a pleasant, more aromatic odour and softer stems that are easily compressed, while A. archangelica subsp. litoralis has a sharper, more pungent odour and harder stems. A. archangelica subsp. litoralis has a more limited, mainly coastal distribution.

Uses

The most common commercial use of angelica today is for the candied stalks produced to create the familiar bright green confectionery used to decorate cakes and trifles. The art of candying is a speciality of the town of Niort in western France. Indeed, most of the angelica grown commercially for the confectionery trade comes from France.

 The raw stems of angelica are eaten in Scandinavia as a traditional food. The cultivar Angelica archangelica 'Vossakvann', named after the Voss area in Norway where it is still grown today,was developed through selection for its sweet-tasting stalks. Leaf stalks can be blanched and eaten like celery, and the leaves can be candied.

Angelica is still eaten as a vegetable in Greenland and the Faeroe Islands. The stems and leaf stalks are often candied or cooked with rhubarb, while young flowerheads are eaten in omelettes or grilled.

The roots and seeds of angelica are used to flavour liqueurs such as Bénédictine and Chartreuse.

Millennium Seed Bank: Seed storage

The Millennium Seed Bank Partnership aims to save plant life worldwide, focusing on plants under threat and those of most use in the future. Seeds are dried, packaged and stored at a sub-zero temperature in our seed bank vault.

Three collections of Angelica archangelica seeds are held in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank based at Wakehurst in West Sussex.

This species at Kew

Angelica can be seen growing in the Queen's Garden adjacent to Kew Palace and in the area adjacent to the Temple of Aeolus.

Pressed and dried specimens of Angelica archangelica are held in Kew's Herbarium, where they are available to researchers by appointment. The details of some of these can be seen online in Kew's Herbarium Catalogue.

Kew's Economic Botany Collection contains samples of roots, seeds, fruits and oils from angelica.

Kew at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011

In 2011, Kew partnered with The Times to produce a show garden to showcase the significance of plants to science and society.

The garden, designed by Chelsea gold medallist Marcus Barnett, featured species chosen to demonstrate both beauty and utility, including medicinal, commercial, and industrial uses to underline the fact that plants are invaluable to our everyday lives - without them, none of us could live on this planet; they produce our food, clothing and the air that we breathe.

Angelica archangelica was one of the species that featured in the garden, which was awarded a Silver Medal.

Ecology
Damp places in lowland and mountain areas, especially alongside streams, rivers and seashores; growing in full sun or moderate shade.
Conservation
Not considered to be threatened.
Hazards

Angelica species contain furocoumarins, which increase skin photosensitivity and may cause dermatitis.

[UNAL]
Vernacular
Angélica

[KSP]
Use
Edible, medicinal, ornamental.

Native to:

Albania, Baltic States, Belarus, Central European Rus, Denmark, East European Russia, Finland, France, Føroyar, Germany, Great Britain, Greenland, Iceland, Netherlands, North Caucasus, North European Russi, Northwest European R, Norway, South European Russi, Sweden, Ukraine, West Siberia

Extinct in:

Bulgaria

Introduced into:

Belgium, Czechoslovakia

English
Angelica

Angelica archangelica L. appears in other Kew resources:

Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
Lowne, B.T. [34-178-757] K000568169
Lowne, B.T. [34-178-757] K000568168

First published in Sp. Pl.: 250 (1753)

Accepted by

  • Govaerts, R. (1995). World Checklist of Seed Plants 1(1, 2): 1-483, 529. MIM, Deurne.
  • Jonsell, B. & Karlsson, T. (eds.) (2010). Flora Nordica 6: 1-298. The Bergius Foundaton.
  • Malyschev, L.I., Peshkova, G.A. & Baikov, K.S. (eds.) (2007). Flora of Siberia 14: 1-210. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
  • Ri?abinina, Z.N. & Kni?azev, M.S. (2009). Opredelitel sosudistykh rastenii Orenburgskoi oblasti: 1-757. Moskva: KMK.
  • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) in Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2012). Konspekt Flora Kavkaza 3(2): 1-623. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
  • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1968). Flora Europaea 2: 1-469. Cambridge University Press.
  • Vangjeli, J. (2017). Flora Albania Atlas 1: 1-933. Koeltz Botanical Books.

Literature

Catálogo de Plantas y Líquenes de Colombia

  • ColPlantA (2021). "ColPlantA. Facilitated by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet; http://www.colplanta.org/"

Kew Species Profiles

  • Culpeper, N. (1995). Culpeper’s Complete Herbal: A Book of Natural Remedies for Ancient Ills. Wordsworth Editions, Ware, Hertfordshire.
  • Davidson, A. (2006). The Oxford Companion to Food, 2nd Edition (edited by T. Jaine). Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  • Facciola, S. (1998). Cornucopia II, A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications, Vista, CA.
  • Gledhill, D. (2008). The Names of Plants. 4th Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Jonsell, B. & Karlsson, T. (eds) (2010). Flora Nordica 6. The Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm.
  • Mabberley, D.J. (2008). Mabberley’s Plant-book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classification and Uses. Third edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Tutin, T.G. et al (1968). Flora Europaea. Volume 2: Rosaceae to Umbelliferae. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Kew Backbone Distributions

  • Jonsell, B. & Karlsson, T. (eds.) (2010). Flora Nordica 6: 1-298. The Bergius Foundaton.
  • Malyschev, L.I., Peshkova, G.A. & Baikov, K.S. (eds.) (2007). Flora of Siberia 14: 1-210. Scientific Publishers, Inc., Enfield, Plymouth.
  • Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) in Takhtajan, A.L. (ed.) (2012). Konspekt Flora Kavkaza 3(2): 1-623. Editio Universitatis Petropolitanae.
  • USDA, NRCS ( 2021-continuously updated). Natural Resources Conservation Services Plant Database http://plants.usda.gov/cgi_bin/topics.cgi?earl=checklist.html.
  • Vangjeli, J. (2017). Flora Albania Atlas 1: 1-933. Koeltz Botanical Books.

Universidad Nacional de Colombia

  • Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt. (2014). Plantas alimenticias y medicinales nativas de Colombia. 2567 registros, aportados por: Castellanos, C. (Contacto del recurso), Valderrama, N. (Creador del recurso, Autor), Bernal, Y. (Autor), García, N. (Autor). http://i2d.humboldt.org.co/ceiba/resource.do?r=ls_colombia_magnoliophyta_2014

Art and Illustrations in Digifolia
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Backbone Distributions
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2021. Published on the Internet at http://www.ipni.org and http://apps.kew.org/wcsp/
© Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Kew Science Photographs
Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Kew Species Profiles
Kew Species Profiles
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0

Universidad Nacional de Colombia
ColPlantA database
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0