Lovage Leaves

Specialty culinary herb.

Lovage. (Old English Lovage. Italian Lovage. Cornish Lovage.)

 Young leaves taste like celery and are used in spring tonic salads and with potato and poultry dishes.

Lovage is easy to grow and will readily re-seed. A sunny location with rich moist, but well-drained soil is required. The seedlings are transplanted, either in the autumn or as early in spring as possible to their permanent location, setting 12 inches apart on all sides. The seeds may also be sown in spring, but it is preferable to sow when just ripe. Root division is performed in early spring. It is a true perennial and therefore is very easy to keep in a garden; it can be propagated by offsets and it is very hardy.

Aromatic stimulant; warming digestive tonic.

Roots have similar activity to “Dong Quai”.

Germination: 10-14 days. 90 days to harvest when started indoors.
Sow: Spring or fall. Root division. Readily re-seeds
Sun: Sun/Part Shade
Hardy: Zones 4-8

Packet app. 25 seeds.


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Lovage is a native of the Mediterranean region, growing wild in the mountainous districts of the south of France, in northern Greece and in the Balkans.

Lovage is one of the old English herbs that was formerly generally cultivated, and is still cultivated as a sweet herb, and for the use, in herbal medicine, of its root and to a lesser degree, the leaves and seeds.

Its old-time reputation has suffered by the substitution of the medicinally more powerful Milfoil and Tansy. A tavern cordial named “Lovage” formerly much in style, owed whatever virtue it may have possessed to Tansy. For flavoring purposes freshly-gathered leafstalks of Lovage should be cut in long split lengths.

This stout Lovage plant has a thick and fleshy root, 5 or 6 inches long, shaped like a carrot and grey/brown color on the outside and whitish inside. It has a strong aromatic smell and taste. The thick erect, hollow and channeled stems grow 3 or 4 feet or even more in height. The large, dark green radical leaves, on erect stalks, are divided into narrow wedge-like segments; their surface is shinny and when bruised they give off an aromatic odor, somewhat similar to Angelica and Celery. The stems divide towards the top to form opposite whorled branches, which in mid-summer bear yellow flowers similar to those of Fennel or Parsnip, followed by small, extremely aromatic fruits, yellow/brown in color, elliptical in shape and curved, with three prominent winged ribs. The odor of the whole plant is very strong. Its taste is warm and aromatic, and it abounds with a yellow, gummy, resinous juice.

Lovage is sometimes grown in gardens for its ornamental foliage, as well as for its pleasant odor, but it is not a striking enough plant to have claimed the attention of poets and painters, and no legends are connected with it.

The plants should last for several years if the ground is kept well cultivated.

 

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