Latin name: Levisticum officinale
Location: Wash House Gardens (though it is a perennial so you won’t see it in winter)
What it looks like: Bright to mid green shiny foliage and stems growing around 2 metres tall with the flowers being yellow-green.
Lovage was thought to be native to southern Europe but it has been growing in the UK for hundreds of years and happily grows in our vegetable beds in Wash House Gardens. Just as there is some dispute over the origins of Lovage there are also different theories about how the name came about with some suggesting it was linked to love potions while others say the name is based on the medicinal properties of the plant.
How to eat it: Lovage is a really versatile herb that tastes similar to celery and the whole plant is pretty much edible in one way or another. The leaves and stalks can be used as you would any other herb (or in a similar way to celery) adding to soups, casseroles or salad for flavour. The stalks can also be candied like angelica while the leaves can be dried and used to make herbal tea. The roots can be peeled (as the skin is bitter) and pickled or cooked as you would with a vegetable such as carrot. The seeds can be also used by grinding them down to use as a spice…but you don’t need much as they have quite a strong flavour!
More information: Lovage has been used for hundreds of years in medicine for treating all sorts of problems including: digestive problems and relieving troublesome gas, period pain and discomfort, allergies, kidney issues, poor skin/acne and more – now we can’t substantiate any of these claims but it’s a great all round herb and we just love the Lovage!