Also called Black Lovage, this is a native wildflower and forage plant of Britain and Ireland. It is a biennial, with a flavor similar to sweet cicely or myrrh. One of the very earliest green plants to emerge in spring.
Nutrient rich leafy seedlings can be used like parsley, or lovage. Flavor can be quite sharp!
Flower buds can be eaten raw, or steamed, or pickled; they can be added to salads and they go quite well with fish or with a strong, hard cheese.
Roots can be harvested once temperatures drop, and can be used as parsnip substitute, or they are often prepared in a sweet-and-sour pickle.
Seeds are edible as well – and flavorful – they contain the essential oil, cuminal, which is reminiscent of cumin and myrrh.
Keep the plants pruned so that in autumn, you can cover the plants with tall baskets to blanch the leaves and stems, which make them sweet and tender.
They are a bit tender – can’t really deal with under 5 degrees F. But planting them in a protected spot, and mulching can help a lot.