Heirloom & Perennial Ltd

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Heracleum sphondylium, Cow Parsnip


A biennial/perennial self fertile plant, growing to 1.8m, flowering from June to September. Noted for attracting wildlife.

A very easily grown plant, succeeding in any ordinary garden soil, doing best in moist soils or deep woodland. Grows well in full sun or partial shade.

A good bee plant.

Sow mid to late spring or early autumn in situ.

Many genus of this species including subspecies of this species are toxic. Seeds are a safe way to obtain the plant, for the inexperienced, rather than the risk of uncertain foraging.

Edible uses

Stem and young shoots - raw or cooked. Used as a green vegetable, when harvested just as they are sprouting from the ground they are somewhat like asparagus in flavour. The rind is somewhat acrid.

The leaf stems are tied in bundles and dried in the sun until they turn yellow. A sweet substance resembling sugar forms on the dried stems and is considered to be a great delicacy. The peduncles, before flowering, can be eaten as a vegetable or added to soups.

Root - cooked. It is usually boiled.

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