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Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Subfamily: Apioideae
Genus: Levisticum
L. officinale
Binomial name
Levisticum officinale

Lovage ( /ˈlʌvɪ/ ), Levisticum officinale, is a tall perennial plant, the sole species in the genus Levisticum in the family Apiaceae, subfamily Apioideae. [1] [2] It has been long cultivated in Europe, the leaves being used as a herb, the roots as a vegetable, and the seeds as a spice, especially in southern European cuisine.



Lovage flowers Levisticum officinale 002.jpg
Lovage flowers

Lovage is an erect, herbaceous, perennial plant growing to 1.8–2.5 m (6–8 ft) 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 and smell somewhat similar to celery when crushed. The larger basal leaves are up to 70 cm (28 in) 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, 2–3 mm (11618 in) diameter, produced in globose umbels up to 10–15 cm (4–6 in) diameter; flowering is in late spring. The fruit is a dry two-parted schizocarp 4–7 mm (31614 in) long, mature in autumn. [3]


The exact native range is disputed; some sources cite it as native to much of Europe and southwestern Asia, [4] others from only the eastern Mediterranean region in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia, [5] and yet others only to southwestern Asia in Iran and Afghanistan, citing European populations as naturalised. [6] [7] It has been long cultivated in Europe, the leaves being used as an herb, the roots as a vegetable, and the seeds as a spice, especially in southern European cuisine. [5]

Properties and uses

The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soup or season broths, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Its flavour and smell are reminiscent both of celery and parsley, only more intense and spicy than those of either. The seeds can be used as a spice in the same way as fennel seeds. [5]

The roots, which contain a heavy, volatile oil, are used as a mild aquaretic. [13] Lovage root contains furanocoumarins which can lead to photosensitivity. [14]


A lovage plant beginning to bloom in June, 2.78 m (9 ft 1 in) tall Unser Liebstockel.jpg
A lovage plant beginning to bloom in June, 2.78 m (9 ft 1 in) tall

The name "lovage" is from "love-ache", ache being a medieval name for parsley; this is a folk-etymological corruption of the older French name levesche, from late Latin levisticum, in turn thought to be a corruption of the earlier Latin ligusticum, 'of Liguria' (northwest Italy), where the herb was grown extensively. [15] In modern botanical usage, both Latin forms are now used for different (but closely related) genera, with Levisticum for (culinary) lovage, and Ligusticum for Scots lovage, a similar species from northern Europe, and for related species. [15]

Related Research Articles

Apiaceae Family of flowering plants

Apiaceae or Umbelliferae is a family of mostly aromatic flowering plants named after the type genus Apium and commonly known as the celery, carrot or parsley family, or simply as umbellifers. It is the 16th-largest family of flowering plants, with more than 3,700 species in 434 genera including such well-known and economically important plants as ajwain, angelica, anise, asafoetida, caraway, carrot, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, lovage, cow parsley, parsley, parsnip and sea holly, as well as silphium, a plant whose identity is unclear and which may be extinct.

Celery Species of edible plant

Celery is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity. Celery has a long fibrous stalk tapering into leaves. Depending on location and cultivar, either its stalks, leaves or hypocotyl are eaten and used in cooking. Celery seed powder is used as a spice.

Dill Species of flowering plant in the celery family Apiaceae

Dill is an annual herb in the celery family Apiaceae. It is the only species in the genus Anethum. Dill is grown widely in Eurasia, where its leaves and seeds are used as a herb or spice for flavouring food.

Parsley Species of flowering plant in the celery family Apiaceae cultivated as an herb

Parsley, or garden parsley is a species of flowering plant in the family Apiaceae that is native to the central and eastern Mediterranean region, but has been naturalized elsewhere in Europe, and is widely cultivated as a herb, and a vegetable.

Fennel Flowering plant species in the carrot family

Fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

Parsnip Root vegetable in the flowering plant family Apiaceae

The parsnip is a root vegetable closely related to carrot and parsley, all belonging to the flowering plant family Apiaceae. It is a biennial plant usually grown as an annual. Its long taproot has cream-colored skin and flesh, and, left in the ground to mature, it becomes sweeter in flavor after winter frosts. In its first growing season, the plant has a rosette of pinnate, mid-green leaves. If unharvested, in its second growing season it produces a flowering stem topped by an umbel of small yellow flowers, later producing pale brown, flat, winged seeds. By this time, the stem has become woody and the tap root inedible.

Coriander Annual herb

Coriander is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. It is also known as Chinese parsley, dhania, kothmir, or cilantro. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking.

<i>Angelica archangelica</i> Species of plant

Angelica archangelica, commonly known as garden angelica, wild celery, and Norwegian angelica, is a biennial plant from the family Apiaceae, a subspecies of which is cultivated for its sweetly scented edible stems and roots. Like several other species in Apiaceae, its appearance is similar to several poisonous species, and should not be consumed unless it has been identified with absolute certainty. Synonyms include Archangelica officinalis Hoffm. and Angelica officinalis Moench.

Cicely Genus of flowering plants in the celery family Apiaceae

Myrrhis odorata, with common names cicely, sweet cicely, myrrh, garden myrrh, and sweet chervil, is a herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the celery family Apiaceae. It is the only species in the genus Myrrhis.

<i>Trachyspermum roxburghianum</i> Species of flowering plant

Trachyspermum roxburghianum is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. It is grown extensively in South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Indonesia. Its aromatic dried fruits, like those of its close relative ajwain, are often used in Bengali cuisine but are rarely used in the rest of India. The fresh leaves are used as an herb in Thailand and it is used medicinally in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

<i>Smyrnium olusatrum</i> Species of flowering plant

Smyrnium olusatrum, common name alexanders is an edible flowering plant of the family Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), which grows on waste ground and in hedges around the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastal regions of Europe. It was formerly widely grown as a pot herb, but is now appreciated mostly by foragers.

<i>Ligusticum porteri</i> Species of flowering plant

Ligusticum porteri, also known as oshá, wild parsnip, Porter’s Lovage or wild celery, is a perennial herb found in parts of the Rocky Mountains and northern New Mexico, especially in the southwestern United States.

<i>Sium suave</i> Species of flowering plant

Sium suave, the water parsnip or hemlock waterparsnip, is a perennial wildflower in the family Apiaceae. It is native to many areas of both Asia and North America. The common name water parsnip is due to its similarity to parsnip and its wetland habitat. The alternate common name hemlock waterparsnip is due to its similarity to the highly poisonous spotted water hemlock.

<i>Chaerophyllum bulbosum</i> Species of flowering plant

Chaerophyllum bulbosum is a species of flowering plant from the carrot family and known by several common names, including turnip-rooted chervil, tuberous-rooted chervil, bulbous chervil, and parsnip chervil. It is native to Europe and Western Asia. It was a popular vegetable in the 19th century.

Wild celery is a common name for several plants. It can refer to:

Herb Plant used for food, medicine or perfume

In general use, herbs are a widely distributed and widespread group of plants, excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients, with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, for medicinal purposes, or for fragrances. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs generally refers to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant, while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to herbs and spices:

<i>Ligusticum scoticum</i> Species of flowering plant in the celery family Apiaceae

Ligusticum scoticum, known as Scots lovage, or Scottish licorice-root, is a perennial flowering plant in the celery family Apiaceae found near the coasts of northern Europe and north-eastern North America. It grows up to 60 centimetres (24 in) tall and is found in rock crevices and cliff-top grassland. It is closely related to, and possibly conspecific with, Ligusticum hultenii from the coast of the northern Pacific Ocean. The plant is edible and contains the compound sotolon, which is also present in fenugreek. The leaves have a flavour similar to parsley or celery, while the seeds taste similar to fenugreek or cumin.


Molopospermum is a monotypic genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Apiaceae. The single species, Molopospermum peleponnesiacum, Spanish: cuscullo, French couscouil and Rousillonais Catalan coscoll is native to the mountains of Spain, southern France and Italy and is edible, being used in ways similar to its better-known fellow umbellifers celery and angelica and also believed to have tonic properties.


  1. Pimenov, M. G. & Leonov, M. V. (1993). The Genera of the Umbelliferae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN   0-947643-58-3.
  2. Downie, S. R., Plunkett, G. M., Watson, M. F., Spalik, K., Katz-Downie, D. S., Valiejo-Roman, C. M., Terentieva, E. I., Troitsky, A. V., Lee, B.-Y., Lahham, J., and El-Oqlah, A. (2001). "Tribes and clades within Apiaceae subfamily Apioideae: the contribution of molecular data". Edinburgh Journal of Botany. 58 (2): 301–330. doi:10.1017/s0960428601000658.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. Interactive Flora of NW Europe: Levisticum officinale (Lovage)
  4. Den virtuella floran: Levisticum officinale (in Swedish), with map
  5. 1 2 3 Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. ISBN   0-333-47494-5.
  6. Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN   0-340-40170-2.
  7. "Levisticum officinale". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  8. Thyra (2017-06-30). "Thyra: Lovage/Løvstikke". Thyra. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  9. "Blogwatching: white asparagus – A Dutch ritual". DutchNews.nl. Retrieved 2020-09-30.
  10. "În ce fel de ciorbe este indicat să folosim leuşteanul. Cât de multe frunze puternic aromate putem pune". adevarul.ro. 23 February 2017. Retrieved 2019-03-17.
  11. "Cum faci cele mai gustoase murături". Adevarul newspaper. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  12. Information on Lovage Cordial Archived 2011-10-06 at the Wayback Machine
  13. "Community herbal monograph on Levisticum officinale Koch, radix" (PDF). European Medicines Agency. 2012-03-27. Retrieved 2015-07-28.
  14. Ashwood-Smith MJ, Ceska O, Yeoman A, Kenny PG (May 1993). "Photosensitivity from harvesting lovage (Levisticum officinale)". Contact Dermatitis. 26 (5): 356–7. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0536.1992.tb00138.x. PMID   1395606. S2CID   30154586.
  15. 1 2 "lovage" . Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)