Lovage is an erect herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.8 to 2.5 m tall, with a basal rosette of leaves and stems with further leaves, the flowers being produced in umbels at the top of the stems. The stems and leaves are shiny glabrous green to yellow-green. The larger basal leaves are up to 70 cm long, tripinnate, with broad triangular to rhomboidal, acutely pointed leaflets with a few marginal teeth; the stem leaves are smaller, and less divided with few leaflets. The flowers are yellow to greenish-yellow, 2 to 3 mm diameter, produced in globose umbels up to 10 to 15 cm diameter; flowering is in late spring. The fruit is a dry two-parted schizocarp 4 to 7 mm long, mature in autumn. The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soup, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Lovage tea can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic, or drunk to stimulate digestion. The seeds can be used as a spice, similar to fennel seeds. In the UK, Lovage cordial was traditionally mixed with brandy in the ratio of 2:1 as a winter drink. Lovage is second only to capers in its quercetin content. The roots, which contain a heavy, volatile oil, are used as a mild aquaretic. Lovage root contains furanocoumarins which can lead to photosensitivity. Easy growing it is a must for all herb gardens.
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