Common names (selected) English: goutweed, ashweed, bishop’s-weed, ground-elder, herb-Gerard, snow-in-the-mountain, English masterwort, wild masterwort; Polish: kozia stópka; French: egopode, podagraire; German: Geißfuß, Giersch; Italian: castalda, girardina silvestre; Portuguese: língua-de-vaca-amarga, labaça-de-vaca-amarga; Swedish: kirskål
Native regions and distribution: Native to temperate Asia and Europe. Widely distributed across the continental U.S., Canada, Russia, and in Australia. The plant was introduced into North America as an ornamental ground cover but is considered invasive in many U.S. northern states due to its aggressiveness.
Urban habitat: Commonly found near bodies of water, and in urban woodlands, grasslands; thrives in partial and full shade.
Ecological function: food and habitat for wildlife
History/human uses: Aegopodium podagraria has a long history of medicinal use back to the middle ages in Europe to cure gout but has also been used as a diuretic, sedative, stimulant, and to treat sciatica, arthritis, rheumatism, and digestive problems. Externally it is used on burns, stings, wounds, and painful joints. It is also being tested as a potential antihyperglycemic for treatment of diabetes. Its leaves are edible and have been used in salads, soups and cooked as a vegetable. It is considered weedy due to its fast rate of growth and propensity to spread.