Smyrnium olusatrum lvAlexanders is a biennial herb native to the Mediterranean region and known to the ancient Greeks. It grows wild in many parts of Europe and was introduced into England by the Romans about 2,000 years ago and was used as a potherb, vegetable, and medicianal herb. Although widlely grown in ancient, medieval and Renaissance times it is rarely grown now. Alexanders belongs to the carrot family (Apiaceae) and is related to dill, fennel, parsley, celery,and, queen Anne’s lace. The thick, furrowed stems grow up to sixty inches tall abd ae solid when young but become hollow as they mature. The glossy dark-green leaves are divided and bluntly toothed. The small yellow-green flowers are produced in umbells and the small seeds are black when ripe. The mild flavor is between that of celery and parsley, and roots, leaves, stems, flower buds and seeds are edible. The common name alexanders refers to the association with Alexander the Great. The generic name, Smyrnium , comes from the Greek word smyrnion meaning myrrh, suggesting that the scent of Alexaners is myrrh-like. The specific name olusatrum comes from the Latin olus-, meaning garden herb, and -ater meaning black, referring to the color of the seeds and giving rise to another common name, black lovage.

Smyrnium olusatrum flType: Herbaceous biennial

Bloom: Small yellow-green flowers in umbels in spring

Size: 48″ H x 28″ W

Light: Full sun

Soil: Average, moist, well-drained

Care: Low mintenance

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Seed

By Karen