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Bishop's goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria)

Bishop's goutweed Common Names: Goutweed, Bishop's weed, Ground elder

Description: Introduced to North America as an ornamental.

Habit: A rhizomatous herbaceous creeping perennial that can grow up to 3 ft tall.

Leaves: Long-petioled, divided into leaflets, arranged in groups of 3. Leaflets are toothed or irregularly lobed, green or variegated green and white in color.

Stems: Leaf stems arising from the rhizomes are about 1 ft tall and typically far outnumber the fertile, flower-bearing stems. Fertile stems grow 2-3 ft tall.

Flowers: Small, attractive, white in color, 5 petaled; blooms in mid-summer.

Fruit and seeds: Brown seeds are produced in late summer and are small and elongate.

Habitat: Native to Europe and northern Asia; grows well partial sun to full shade, with a preference for well-drained, moist, shaded areas such as forest edges and disturbed forests; infestations can be traced to ill-kept gardens.

Reproduction: Vegetatively by rhizomes.

Similar species: Canadian honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis), but the flowers of honewort are smaller in size and its compound leaves have only 3 leaflets, rather than 3 groups of leaflets.

Monitoring and rapid response: Hand pull is not affective because it is difficult to remove the rhizomes and stolons. Dig up entire plants along with rhizomes, bag and discard. Frequent short mowing may control or slow the spread. Effectively controlled using any of several readily available general use herbicides such as glyphosate. Contact herbicides are usually ineffective, repeat applications may be necessary.

Credits: The information provided in this factsheet was gathered from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service.

Individual species images that appear with a number in a black box are courtesy of the network ( photo author credits may not be included due to the small display size of the images and subsequent difficulty of reading the provided text. All other images appear courtesy of Google (

Common Name:

Bishop's goutweed

Scientific Name:

Aegopodium podagraria







USDA Symbol:


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