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Levisticum_officinale - W.D.J.Koch.

Common Name Lovage, Garden lovage
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Lovage is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[218]. The volatile oil is an irritant. Contraindicated with kidney or urinary passage inflammation. Avoid during pregnancy [301].
Habitats Arable land and waste places[9] in damp soils[7, 14]. Mountain pastures and hedgerows near streams[244].
Range Europe. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Levisticum_officinale Lovage, Garden lovage

Levisticum_officinale Lovage, Garden lovage


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Bloom Color: Green, Yellow. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Levisticum_officinale is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.8 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 4 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf from March to November, in flower from July to August, and the seeds ripen from August to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Hipposelinum levisticum. Levisticum levesticum. Ligusticum levisticum. Selinum levisticum.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Leaves and stems - raw or cooked[2, 4, 14, 21]. Used as a savoury flavouring in salads, soups, stews etc, imparting a yeasty/celery flavour[9, 52]. The leaves can be used fresh or dried and are available from late winter until late autumn. To ensure a good supply of the leaves in the summer, it is best to cut the plants down to the ground when flowering in the summer[K]. The young stem can be blanched and used like celery in salads or as a savoury flavouring in cooked foods[52, 183]. Seed - raw or cooked. A strong yeasty flavour, it is used as a flavouring in cakes, soups, salads etc[2, 21, 46, 200]. It can be used whole or ground into a powder. Root - cooked. A strong savoury taste, it can be used as a flavouring[142] or cooked as a vegetable[200]. It is best grated[200]. Best used when 2 - 3 years old[142]. Flowers[183]. No more details are given. A tea is made from the dried leaves. A strong savoury flavour, it tastes more like a broth[21, 183]. A tea can also be made from the grated roots[183]. An essential oil from the root is used commercially as a food flavouring[183, 238]. Yields of 0.5% are obtained[7].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Lovage is a warming and tonic herb for the digestive and respiratory systems. It is used primarily in the treatment of indigestion, poor appetite, wind, colic and bronchitis[254]. The roots, leaves and fruits are antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, mildly expectorant and stimulant[4, 7, 21, 46, 165, 238]. They are used internally in the treatment of disordered stomachs, especially cases of colic and flatulence in children, kidney stones, cystitis, painful menstruation and slow labour[4, 238]. Externally, the root is used in the treatment of sore throats and aphthous ulcers[238]. The roots of plants 3 years old can be harvested in early spring or in the autumn and are used fresh or dried[9, 238]. The leaves are harvested before the plant comes into flower and either distilled for their oil or dried for later use[238]. The leaves, either eaten in salads or dried and infused as a tea, have been used as an emmenagogue[4]. The essential oil from the seeds is used by aromatherapists to remove freckles and spots from the face[244]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Levisticum officinale - Lovage for infections of the urinary tract, kidney and bladder stones (see [302] for critics of commission E).

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

An essential oil from the plant is used in perfumery[7, 238].

Special Uses

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Foundation. An easily grown plant, it prefers a rich moist but well-drained soil in a sunny position[4, 52], though it tolerates some shade[14]. Lovage has very aromatic leaves. It is often grown in the herb garden as a culinary herb[7] and is occasionally grown commercially as a food flavouring[K]. If the plant is cut back to the ground during the growing season it will produce a new flush of young leaves[200]. If the weather is dry at this time, it will be necessary to water the plants in order to encourage fresh growth[K]. Lovage is a good companion plant, improving the health and flavour of other plants growing nearby[14, 20]. The flowers are very attractive to bees and also draw insect predators such as hoverflies into the garden[24]. Special Features: Edible, Fragrant foliage, Not North American native, Naturalizing. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. The plant growth habit is a clumper with limited spread [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - sow spring or early autumn in a cold frame. The seed can be slow to germinate so it is probably best sown as soon as it is ripe[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. This can be quite hard work due to the size of the roots but the plant grows away very well afterwards. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Levisticum officinaleLovage, Garden lovagePerennial1.8 5-9 MLMHSNM332

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Readers comment

Dr. med. Veronika Rampold   Thu Dec 22 2005

Anthroposophic medicine uses Levisticum D 3 internally for some kinds of ear disease. I don´t remember which ones. Check websites of anthroposophic companies Weleda and Wala (both in German) Potato soup and similar German Eintopf dishes, to my opinion, are seasoned best with lovage and parsley, better than with parsley alone or parsley and leaf-celery. In vegetable soups as used in fasting or by Macrobiotics, lovage makes forget there´s no meat in the dish. Germans call it Maggikraut for the flavor is similar to the Maggi meat extract seasoning which all Germans use into soups, or to Shoyu sauce which Vegetarians use instead of Maggi.

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