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University of Illinois Extension
Herb Gardening

Lovage

Lovage

Levisticum officinale

Perennial

Description

Lovage is a large, vigorous hardy perennial growing 4-6 feet tall.  Dark green leaves resemble those of celery. Large, flat-topped yellow flower heads are produced in summer.  The flavor of lovage is much like celery only stronger and sweeter.  The leaves, stems, roots and seeds are edible.

Culture

Lovage is grown from either division or seed planted in the spring or fall.  It likes a fairly rich, moist soil and light shade improves its quality.  Lovage is useful as a background plant in the perennial border.

Harvesting

Leaves and stems can be used fresh anytime they are needed.  Harvest young leaves as they are more tender.  Seed heads can be picked when they start to turn brown. Put seed heads in paper bags to dry and then roll the seeds between your hands to clear them from the stems.  Store in sealed containers. Leaves can be dried for later use.  Roots can be dug, washed and stored cool until needed.

Use

Leaves and stems are used to flavor soups, salads, gravy, meat, and chicken dishes.  The stems can also be candied or blanched and eaten as a vegetable.  Because the stems are hollow, they make handy straws for sipping beverages such as tomato juice. Leaves are also used in teas. 

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