Sweden wildflowers: Garden Angelica

Angelica archangelica, Angelica officinalis, SE:Kvanne, Angelika,
DE: Arznei-Engelwurz, NL: Grote engelwortel, UK: Garden Angelica

Scientific name:  Angelica archangelica L.
Synonym name:  Angelica officinalis (Moench) Hoffm.
Swedish name:  Kvanne, Angelika, Fjällkvanne (ssp. archangelica), Strandkvanne, Havssträtta
German name:  Arznei-Engelwurz, Echte Engelwurz
Nederlandse naam:  Grote engelwortel
English name:  Garden Angelica, Holy Ghost, Wild Celery, Norwegian angelica
Family:  Umbelliferae / Apiaceae, Carrot family, Flockblommiga växter

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Life form:  Perennial
Stems:  Height 50–120 cm, Stem reddish, smooth, hairless
Leaves:  Alternate, doubly pinnate, ovate-lanceolate, serrated, the terminal leaflet lobed.
Flowers:  Numerous greenish-white flowers, arranged in many rayed umbels; 5 elliptical-lanceolate, entire, equal petals, inflexed at the point
Flowering Period:  July, August
Fruits:  Oval, ridged 2-parted schizocarp
Habitat:  Damp places in lowland and mountain areas, especially alongside streams, rivers and seashores; growing in full sun or moderate shade.

Vilda Blommor i Sverige


Derivation of the botanical name:
Angelica, Latin "angelic," referring to the medicinal properties of the plant, which are said to have been revealed to a monk by an angel who told him it was a cure for the plague.
archangelica, Greek αρχάγγελος archangelos = αρχ- arch- ("first, primary, chief or highest") and άγγελος angelos ("messenger"). Due to the myth that it was an archangel who told of its use as medicine, the three archangels are Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel.
  • The standard author abbreviation L. is used to indicate Carl Linnaeus (1707 – 1778), a Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist, the father of modern taxonomy.
  • The standard author abbreviation Moench is used to indicate Conrad Moench (1744 – 1805), a German botanist.
  • The standard author abbreviation Hoffm. is used to indicate George Franz Hoffmann (1761 – 1826), a German botanist and lichenologist.
Angelica archangelica is an insect pollinated outbreeder.

With flowers scheduled to appear annually on the 8th of May, the feast day of St. Michael the Archangel, Angelica is said to possess mystical powers against disease and evil. One reference claims this herb was named after the Archangel Raphael, who according to a 10th century French legend, revealed the secrets of this herb to a monk for use during a plague epidemic. It first appeared in European herbals in the early 1500's. Angelica wasn't believed to cure the plague but protect against it; a piece of root was held in the mouth as an antiseptic. In Germany, it was known as the root of the holy ghost and was believed to eliminate the effects of intoxication and also to render witchcraft and the evil eye harmless. In England, where it was also known as bellyache root, dried angelica roots were made into powder and mixed into wine to "abate the rage of lust in young persons." The plant was also given symbolic qualities: angelica stands for magic and poetic inspiration.
  1. The British Flora Medica of 1877 stated that Laplanders considered it to be one of the most important productions of their soil.
  2. It is mentioned in the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason (960s – 1000), King of Norway from 995 to 1000: One day early in the spring, so it is said, as the King was walking in the street came a man towards him from the market-place bearing many sticks of angelica, which same were wondrous big, seeing that it was early in the spring-tide. And the King took a large stick of angelica in his hand & went home therewith to the lodging of Queen Tyri. Now Tyri sat a-weeping in her hall even as the King came in, but he said to her: ‘Here is a great stalk of angelica for thee.’ Aside thrust Tyri it with her hand, and said: ‘Greater gifts gave Harald Gormson to me, but lesser feared he than thou dost to leave his land and seek his own, and the token thereof is that fared he hither to Norway and laid waste the greater part of this land and took to himself all taxes and dues; but durst thou not fare through the Danish realm for fear of my brother King Svein.’ Then up sprang King Olaf at these words, & called out loudly, and swore withal: ‘Never will I go in fear of thy brother King 105 Svein, and whensoever we meet shall he be the one to give way.’
  3. Nicholas Culpeper (1616 – 1654), an English botanist, herbalist, physician, and astrologer, wrote “...some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others more moderate called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues...
  4. Angelica archangelica was once also an important part of Sami's diet and Linnaeus writes in his Lapland journey that it was used both fresh or pickled in reindeer milk.
  5. Angelica can be used as a seasoning liquor or tea, young stems and petioles can be crystallized and used in fine confectionery. According to Professor Dr. David John Mabberley (born 1948), a botanist, educator and writer, it is angelica giving liqueurs Chartreuse and Benedictine its characteristic flavor.
  6. Hellmut Baumann's Die Griechische Pflanzenwelt invokes the stem of the angelica as a possible inspiration for the Doric column. The even, vertical veins, known as phloems are placed, sized, and distributed just like the flutes of a Doric column's shaft. According to Vitruvius [Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (born c. 80–70 BCE, died after c. 15 BCE, author of De architectura, known today as The Ten Books on Architecture] the Doric order obtained its proportion, its strength, and its beauty, from the human figure." (Vitruvius, iv.6) "The successors of these people, improving in taste, and preferring a more slender proportion, assigned seven diameters to the height of the Doric column." (Vitruvius, iv.8)

Flora of Sweden online, Native plants, Sverige


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