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Ligusticum scoticum

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Ligusticum scoticum, known as Scots lovage,<ref name="Hackney"/> or Scottish licorice-root,<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> is a perennial plant of the family Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) found near the coasts of northern Europe and north-eastern North America. It grows up to Template:Convert tall and is found in rock crevices and cliff-top grassland. It is closely related to, and possibly conspecific with, Ligusticum hultenii from the coast of the northern Pacific Ocean. The plant is edible, with a flavour resembling parsley or celery.



Ligusticum scoticum is a herbaceous perennial plant which typically grows Template:Convert tall.<ref name="Palin">Template:Cite journal</ref> It has triangular, twice-ternate leaves, Template:Convert long, with each lobe Template:Convert long. The edges of the leaves may be toothed, lobed or serrated, and are typically either a paler green or magenta.<ref name="Palin"/> The stem branches infrequently, and bears 2–5 inflorescences, each of which is a compound umbel Template:Convert in diameter.<ref name="Palin"/> There are typically 8–12 rays in both the primary and secondary umbels. Each individual flower is around Template:Convert in diameter and greenish-white in colour.<ref name="Palin"/> The fruit are Template:Convert long, with five prominent ridges on each carpel.<ref name="Palin"/>

Ligusticum scoticum tastes and smells like parsley<ref name="Palin"/> or celery,<ref name="Watts">Template:Cite book</ref> and was formerly widely eaten in western Britain, both for nutrition and to combat scurvy.<ref name="Watts"/>


Ligusticum scoticum is primarily an Arctic plant, with a disjunct range extending from northern Norway to the more northerly shores of the British Isles, and from western Greenland to New England.<ref>Template:Cite book</ref> A related species, Ligusticum hultenii, which was described by Merritt Lyndon Fernald in 1930<ref>Template:Cite journal</ref> and may be better treated as a subspecies of L. scoticum, occurs around the northern Pacific Ocean, from Japan to Alaska.<ref name="Hackney">Template:Cite web</ref> The southernmost occurrence of L. scoticum is at Ballyhalbert in Northern Ireland.<ref name="Hackney"/>


Within the British Isles, Ligusticum scoticum is only found on coasts where the mean annual temperature is below Template:Convert, and this bound is likely to also apply in other parts of the species' range.<ref name="Palin"/> Towards the southern end of its range, the plant performs poorly on south-facing sites.<ref name="Palin"/> It grows in fissures in rocks, where it may be the only vascular plant, and also in cliff-top grassland communities dominated by Festuca rubra and Plantago maritima.<ref name="Palin"/>

Ligusticum scoticum cannot tolerate grazing, and is harmed by the actions of nesting seabirds; it is therefore rarely found on bird cliffs, or where grazing sheep and rabbits are found.<ref name="Palin"/> It is, however, tolerant of salt spray, and its growth has been shown to improve when given dilute sea water.<ref name="Palin"/> The leaves of L. scoticum are frost-tolerant, and die back each winter, but regrow very rapidly the following spring. In the British Isles, flowering occurs from June to August, and the seeds are ripe in October or November; the timing is expected to be later at higher latitudes.<ref name="Palin"/> The flowers of L. scoticum are visited by generalist pollinators, mostly flies.<ref name="Palin"/>


Ligusticum scoticum was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1753 work Template:Lang.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Linnaeus originally used the epithet Template:Lang, and this is used by many authors in North America; in Europe, the amended spelling Template:Lang is used.<ref name="Palin"/>



External links

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  • This page was last modified on 2 August 2015, at 19:02.
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