Angelica





(Archangelica officinalis, Hoffm.)



a biennial or perennial herb of the natural order Umbelliferae, so called from its supposed

medicinal qualities. It is believed to be a native of Syria, from

whence it has spread to many cool European climates, especially Lapland

and the Alps, where it has become naturalized.





Description. Its roots are long, spindle-shaped, fleshy, and sometimes

weigh three pounds; its stems stout, herbaceous, fluted, often more than

4 feet tall, and hollow; its leaves long-stalked, frequently 3 feet in

length, reddish purple at the clasping bases, and composed, in the

larger ones, of numerous small leaflets, in three principal groups,

which are each subdivided into three lesser groups; its flowers

yellowish or greenish, small and numerous, in large roundish umbels; its

seeds pale yellow, membranous-edged, oblong flattened on one side,

convex on the other, which is marked with three conspicuous ribs.



Cultivation. Since the seeds lose their vitality rapidly, rarely being

viable after the first year, they should be sown as soon as ripe in late

summer or early autumn, or not later than the following spring after

having been kept during the winter in a cold storeroom. The soil should

be moderately rich, rather light, deep, well drained, but moist and well

supplied with humus. It should be deeply prepared and kept loose and

open as long as tools can be used among the plants, which may be left to

care for themselves as soon as they shade the ground well.



In the autumn, the seeds may be sown where the plants are to remain or

preferably in a nursery bed, which usually does not need protection

during the winter. In the spring a mild hotbed, a cold frame or a

nursery bed in the garden may be used, according to the earliness of

planting. Half an inch is deep enough to cover the seeds. The seedlings

should be transplanted when still small for their first summer's growth,

a space of about 18 inches being allowed between them. In the autumn

they should be removed to permanent quarters, the plants being set 3

feet apart.



If well grown, the leaves may be cut for use during the summer after

transplanting; the plants may not, however, produce seed until the

following season. Unless seed is desired, the tops should be cut and

destroyed at or before flowering time, because, if this be not done, the

garden is apt to become overrun with angelica seedlings. If the seeds

are wanted, they should be gathered and treated as indicated on page 28.

After producing seed, the plants frequently die; but by cutting down the

tops when the flower heads first appear, and thus preventing the

formation of seed, the plants may continue for several years longer.



Uses. The stems and leaf stalks, while still succulent, are eaten as a

salad or are roasted or boiled like potatoes. In Europe, they are

frequently employed as a garnish or as an adjunct to dishes of meat and

fish. They are also largely used for making candied angelica. (See

below.) Formerly the stems were blanched like celery and were very

popular as a vegetable; now they are little used in the United States.

The tender leaves are often boiled and eaten as a substitute for

spinach. Less in America than in Europe, the seeds, which, like other

parts of the plant, are aromatic and bitterish, are used for flavoring

various beverages, cakes, and candies, especially "comfits." Oil of

angelica is obtained from the seeds by distillation with steam or

boiling water, the vapor being condensed and the oil separated by

gravity. It is also obtained in smaller quantity from the roots, 200

pounds of which, it is said, yield only about one pound of the oil. Like

the seeds, the oil is used for flavoring.



Angelica candied. Green says: The fresh roots, the tender stems, the

leaf stalks and the midribs of the leaves make a pleasing aromatic

candy. When fresh gathered the plant is rather too bitter for use. This

flavor may be reduced by boiling. The parts should first be sliced

lengthwise, to remove the pith. The length of time will depend somewhat

upon the thickness of the pieces. A few minutes is usually sufficient.

After removal and draining the pieces are put in a syrup of granulated

sugar and boiled till full candy density is reached. The kettle is then

removed from the fire and the contents allowed to cool. When almost cold

the pieces are to be taken out and allowed to dry.





Anemone (wood) Angelica (also Called Master-wort) facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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