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Aegopodium podagraria (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)
Aegopodium podagraria (photo courtesy of Laura Dunkin-Hubby)

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Zones A1-A3, 1-9, 12, 14-24, 30-45
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Full, Partial, Shade
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Moderate, Minimal

Aegopodium podagraria

Bishop’s Weed, Gout Weed
Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Ground covers, Perennials

Native from Europe to western Asia, this rampant groundcover has naturalized in North America. Many light green, three-leafleted leaves make a dense, spreading mass to 6–12 in. high. Flat-topped clusters of white flowers rise above the leaves in summer. The plants are deciduous even in mild-winter areas.

‘Variegatum’ is the most widely planted form; it has leaflets edged in white, for a luminous look in shade. Set plants 1 ft. apart for quick cover, and pull any that revert to solid green. In warm climates, locate where it will receive some shade during the hottest part of the day.

This extremely invasive plant spreads by creeping underground rootstocks; it’s almost impossible to eradicate once established. Contain it with an underground barrier of wood, concrete, or metal extending 8–12 in. into the soil—or grow it in poor soil or shade where nothing else will thrive. To neaten plants, mow two or three times yearly. Shear off flowering stems before they set seed to limit volunteer seedlings. 

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