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Angelica archangelica (angelica)

Well-known as a decoration for cakes and puddings, angelica is a tall, aromatic herb that has been cultivated since ancient times.
Angelica archangelica in the snow

Angelica archangelica in Þórsmörk in winter, Iceland (Photo: Andreas Tille, licensed under CC by 2.0)

Species information

Scientific name: 

Angelica archangelica L.

Common name: 

angelica, garden angelica, Norwegian angelica, Holy Ghost, archangel

Conservation status: 

Not considered to be threatened.


Damp places in lowland and mountain areas, especially alongside streams, rivers and seashores; growing in full sun or moderate shade.

Key Uses: 

Edible, medicinal, ornamental.

Known hazards: 

Angelica species contain furocoumarins, which increase skin photosensitivity and may cause dermatitis.


Genus: Angelica

About this species

Angelica was supposedly revealed to the 14th Century physician Mattheus Sylvaticus by the archangel as a medicinal plant, hence the common name of archangel and subsequent specific epithet archangelica given by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus. In the 17th Century the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote '...some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others more moderate called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues...'

Angelica has a long history of cultivation for use as a medicine, flavouring agent and vegetable. As an ornamental, angelica is a striking herb, providing height and structure. Its stems were the inspiration for the fluted, Doric columns of Ancient Greece. The root was believed to protect against plague and other infectious diseases as well as easing the symptoms of a range of ailments.


Angelica officinalis


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