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Peucedanum ostruthium - (L.)Koch.

Common Name Masterwort
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people[65, 218]. It is also said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine[218].
Habitats Woodland, damp fields, river banks and mountain meadows[17, 50].
Range S. Europe. Naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Peucedanum ostruthium Masterwort


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Peucedanum ostruthium Masterwort
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Peucedanum ostruthium is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from June to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Insects. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Imperatoria ostruthium. L.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Meadow;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses: Condiment

Leaves - cooked[2, 115, 177]. Used as a potherb or as a flavouring[61, 183]. The aromatic roots can be used as a flavouring[183]. They are said to taste hotter than pepper[4]. A particularly popular drink is made from the fermented roots[7].

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.
Antispasmodic  Aromatic  Bitter  Carminative  Diaphoretic  Digestive  Diuretic  Emmenagogue  
Expectorant  Febrifuge  Homeopathy  Odontalgic  Skin  Stimulant  Stomachic


Masterwort is little used in modern herbalism, but it may well be a herb that bears further investigation[254]. It was held in high regard in the Middle Ages where it was especially valued for its ability to resolve all flatulence in the body and stimulate the flow of urine and menstruation[254]. It was also used in treating rheumatic conditions, shortness of breath, kidney and bladder stones, water retention and wounds[254]. The root is antispasmodic, aromatic, bitter, strongly carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant and stomachic[4, 7, 9, 21, 254]. It is of use in the treatment of asthma, dyspepsia and menstrual complaints[4], an infusion helps to relieve migraine[7]. The root is gathered in the spring or autumn and dried for later use[7, 9]. An essential oil from the plant has a euphoric and odontalgic effect[7]. Used externally, it relieves skin irritation[7]. When used externally, the plant or the extracted essential oil can cause an allergic reaction to sunlight[254]. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots[9]. No details of its applications are given[K].

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Cultivation details

An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position[200]. Dislikes shade. This report contradicts the report that this plant grows wild in woodlands. Masterwort was at one time cultivated as a pot herb and for medicinal purposes, though it has now fallen into virtual disuse[4, 200]. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden[200].

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Propagation

Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

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
Peucedanum cervaria Perennial1.5 5-9  LMHNM01 
Peucedanum japonicum Perennial0.6 -  LMHSNM12 
Peucedanum multivittatum Perennial0.0 -  LMHSNM10 
Peucedanum officinaleHog's FennelPerennial1.2 -  LMHNM02 
Peucedanum oreoselinum Perennial1.0 4-8  LMHNM01 
Peucedanum palustreMarsh Hog's Fennel, HogfennelBiennial1.5 5-9  LMHSNMWe11 
Peucedanum praeruptorumQian HuPerennial0.8 -  LMHSNM02 
Peucedanum terebinthaceum Perennial0.6 -  LMHSNM10 

 

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Expert comment

Author

(L.)Koch.

Botanical References

1750200

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Virginia Spencer   Thu Mar 22 2007

The Boroni family of Spiazzo Rendeva in the Trentino area of Italy have distilled Imperatoria to make a grappa for almost 200 years. They are still marketing it and are now promoting its soothing (tranquillising) properties.

Paul Barney   Mon May 14 2007

We grow this plant successfully in the nursery. It grows very happily in the shade. It also grows well in the full sun in Latvia.

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