Lovage Levisticum officinale
The plant known as lovage is a perennial herb that is cherished for its aromatic qualities and its use in cooking and herbal medicine. Its leaves resemble those of its cousin, the celery plant, in shape and are a vibrant green color. Each leaf is composed of multiple leaflets that are arranged opposite to one another along the stem, creating a pattern reminiscent of a ladder. These leaflets are commonly edged with a slightly serrated margin, enhancing their textured appearance. Lovage produces umbels of tiny yellowish-green flowers that bloom atop tall, hollow stalks. Each flower is composed of multiple small florets that are tightly clustered together, forming umbrella-like structures that contribute to the ornate and intricate look of the plant. These flower clusters are a magnet for beneficial insects and pollinators during their blooming period. The stalks of lovage emerge from a robust root system that delves deeply into the soil, which is often thought to be indicative of the plant's strong and resilient nature. The smell of lovage is distinct and has a rich, celery-like fragrance that can be considered invigorating and is often associated with savory dishes and soups where the plant is used as an herbal additive or spice.
About this plant
Lovage, Garden Lovage, Sea Parsley, Maggi Plant, Old English Lovage, Italian Lovage, True Lovage, Organic Lovage.
Levisticum levisticum (L.) Karsten, Hipposelinum levisticum (L.) Britton, Ligusticum levisticum L.
Levisticum officinale, commonly known as lovage, is not considered toxic to humans when consumed in typical culinary amounts. However, consuming large quantities or using it medicinally without proper guidance could potentially result in side effects due to its various chemical components. There are no well-documented cases of human poisoning from lovage. As with any plant, some individuals might experience allergic reactions or skin irritation, particularly if they have a sensitivity to plants in the Apiaceae family.
Lovage is not commonly listed as a toxic plant for pets. However, as with many plants, it is possible for pets to experience gastrointestinal upset if they consume large amounts of lovage. Symptoms could include vomiting and diarrhea. If a pet has an allergy or particular sensitivity, additional symptoms such as skin irritation might occur. It is always prudent to monitor your pets if they have access to any plants, including lovage, and consult a veterinarian if you observe unusual symptoms.
Color of leaves
6 feet (1.8 meters)
2 feet (0.6 meters)
- General Benefits
- Culinary Uses: Levisticum officinale, commonly known as lovage, is a flavorful herb used in soups, stews, and salads for its celery-like taste.
- Gardening: Lovage is an attractive perennial that can add structure and height (up to 6 feet) to garden beds and herb gardens.
- Companion Planting: Lovage is sometimes used in companion planting to enhance the growth and flavor of other plants in the garden.
- Wildlife Attraction: The flowers of lovage are known to attract beneficial insects and pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, aiding in the local ecosystem's health.
- Aromatic Properties: The strong, spicy aroma of lovage can be pleasant in the garden and has been used historically in potpourris.
- Medical Properties
- Diuretic: Levisticum officinale, commonly known as lovage, has been traditionally used to increase urine production.
- Antiseptic: The herb is sometimes applied for its antiseptic properties.
- Carminative: Lovage has been used to help ease digestion and relieve gas.
- Expectorant: It is known for its expectorant properties, aiding in the clearance of mucus from the respiratory tract.
- Anti-inflammatory: It contains compounds that are believed to help reduce inflammation.
- Emmenagogue: Lovage has been historically used to promote menstruation.
- Air-purifying Qualities
This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.
- Other Uses
- Levisticum officinale, commonly known as lovage, can be used as a natural deodorant due to its pleasant aroma and antibacterial properties when the leaves are crushed and applied to the skin.
- The seeds of lovage can be ground and used as a spice, similar to fennel or anise, adding a distinct flavor to baked goods or savory dishes.
- Fresh lovage leaves can be added to bath water for a refreshing, herbal soak that is said to help reduce body odor.
- The hollow stems of lovage can be used as biodegradable straws in beverages, imparting a slight celery-like flavor.
- Lovage's robust growth habits make it useful as a companion plant in gardens to help shade sensitive plants and conserve soil moisture.
- The plant can be incorporated into potpourris or sachets for a natural, earthy aroma in closets and drawers.
- Fermented lovage leaves can be used in small amounts as a substitute for rennet in homemade cheesemaking.
- Dried and powdered lovage leaves can act as a natural insect repellent when sprinkled around outdoor seating areas or windows.
- The plant can be used as part of a natural dye process, where the leaves yield a yellowish color for fabrics when used with a mordant.
- As a floral arrangement greenery, lovage's tall stalks and broad leaves can add height and texture to bouquets.
- Feng Shui
Lovage is not used in Feng Shui practice.
- Zodiac Sign Compitability
Lovage is not used in astrology practice.
- Plant Symbolism
- Love and Affection: Commonly known as Lovage, Levisticum officinale is sometimes associated with love and affection due in part to its name, which is reminiscent of "love." In some traditions, it was believed to be an herb that could spark romance or keep a love burning.
- Healing: Lovage has been used medicinally for centuries, and as such, it can symbolize healing. This is a nod to its use in traditional remedies for ailments like indigestion or respiratory issues.
- Strength and Vitality: Given its robust flavor and vigorous growth, lovage can be a symbol of strength and vitality, representing the energy and resilience of life.
- Clear Sight: In some folklore, lovage was thought to contribute to clear vision, both literally and metaphorically, thus symbolizing clarity and foresight.
Lovage requires consistent moisture, especially during dry periods, to maintain its lush foliage. Water this herb once or twice a week, providing enough water to moisten the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. This could mean using approximately 1 gallon of water per plant each time you water, depending on soil conditions and climate. It's important not to overwater, as standing water can lead to root rot, so ensure the plant is in well-draining soil. During the growing season, increased frequency to ensure the soil remains slightly damp is beneficial.
Lovage thrives in full sun to partial shade conditions. The ideal spot for this plant is a location where it receives at least 6 hours of sunlight daily. If grown in too much shade, lovage may become leggy and produce fewer leaves, so a sunny spot is preferable to promote healthy growth and better flavor of the leaves.
Lovage is a hardy perennial, withstanding temperatures down to about -4°F at minimum. Its ideal growing temperatures are between 60°F and 70°F, and it can generally handle high temperatures as well, as long as it is not exposed to prolonged heat above 90°F without sufficient water.
Pruning lovage is important to encourage new growth and to maintain an attractive shape. It can be done in early spring before new growth starts or after the first flush of leaves has been harvested. Remove any dead or damaged stalks, and you can also cut back the entire plant by half if it becomes too tall or leggy. Lovage can be pruned several times throughout the growing season, as long as you always leave enough leaves to sustain the plant.
Lovage (Levisticum officinale) thrives in a rich, well-draining soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5. The best soil mix should have good organic content, which can be achieved by incorporating compost, leaf mold, or well-rotted manure. Make sure the soil retains moisture without becoming waterlogged.
Lovage typically does not need frequent repotting due to its deep root system. However, if it outgrows its container or the soil becomes depleted of nutrients, repotting every couple of years may be beneficial. Ensure to use a larger pot and fresh soil mix when repotting.
- Humidity & Misting
Lovage requires moderate humidity levels and will generally thrive in the natural outdoor humidity range of most temperate climates. It does not have special humidity requirements when grown in garden settings.
- Suitable locations
Place lovage in a sunny spot and water regularly.
Plant lovage in full sun to partial shade and water.
- Life cycle
Levisticum officinale, commonly known as lovage, begins its life cycle as a seed, typically sown in the spring after the last frost, with germination occurring within a couple of weeks in moist, fertile soil. From here, the seedlings develop into rosettes of dark green, glossy leaves at ground level, and with proper sunlight and water, they grow rapidly. In its second year and subsequent years, lovage produces a tall flowering stalk during late spring or early summer, with small yellowish-green flowers arranged in umbels, which are attractive to beneficial insects. Following pollination, usually by these insects, the flowers develop into small, elongated fruit (known as schizocarps), which contain the seeds for the next generation. After seed maturation and dispersal, the plant begins to die back in late autumn, with the root system surviving underground throughout the winter. The perennial nature of lovage enables it to regenerate from its overwintered roots each spring, continuing its lifecycle for several years.
Propogation: Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is commonly propagated by seed, as this tends to be the most popular and straightforward method. The best time to sow lovage seeds is in early spring when the soil temperature has warmed up a bit, ideally around 60-70°F (15-21°C). To propagate lovage from seed, you should sow the seeds directly into the garden bed or start them indoors in seed trays or pots. Cover the seeds lightly with soil as they need some light to germinate, and keep the soil moist until germination, which usually occurs within 2-3 weeks. Thin the seedlings or transplant them to their final positions in the garden once they reach a substantial size and are strong enough to handle, placing them roughly 2 to 3 feet (60 to 90 centimeters) apart to allow for full growth.