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Scots Lovage

Ligusticum scoticum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
60 centimetres tall
Grassland, marshes, riverbanks, riversides, rocky places, sand dunes, sea cliffs, seaside, swamps, walls, waterside, wetland.

White, 5 petals
Greenish-white flowers appearing in umbels of 4 to 6cm across. Pollinated by insects.
Oval, flattened and ridged fruits. Fruits each measure about 4 to 6mm long. The seeds ripen in August and September.
A tufted, hairless perennial plant with stiff, ribbed, hollow, purplish stems. The leathery, glossy leaves are bright green and 2-trefoil. The leaflets are broad-toothed.
Parsley or celery-scented.
Other Names:
Hulten's Licorice-root, Scottish Licorice-root, Scottish Lovage.
Frequency (UK):

Other Information


Ligusticum scoticum, also known as Scottish lovage or Scot's lovage, is a perennial herb that is native to Scotland and the northern parts of England and Ireland. It is known for its large, glossy leaves and small, yellow-green flowers that bloom in the summer. The roots and leaves of the plant have been traditionally used as a medicinal herb. it has been used to treat various ailments such as digestive issues, respiratory problems, and as a pain reliever. The plant prefers wet soil and is often found in wetland areas such as marshes, swamps, and along the edges of streams and ponds. It is not considered an invasive species, and it's not poisonous.


Scots Lovage, also known as Ligusticum scoticum, is a hardy and versatile plant that is native to the coastal regions of Europe and North America. It has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, cuisine, and even as a flavoring agent for alcoholic beverages.

Scots Lovage is a member of the Apiaceae family, which includes other well-known herbs such as parsley, dill, and cilantro. It is a perennial plant that grows up to 60cm tall and has feathery leaves and small, white flowers that bloom in the summer months.

The plant is typically found growing in rocky and sandy coastal areas, and is well-suited to the harsh conditions found in these environments. It is also commonly found in marshy areas, as it is able to tolerate wet soil conditions.

One of the most unique aspects of Scots Lovage is its distinct aroma and flavor. The plant has a strong, pungent scent that is reminiscent of celery or parsley, and its leaves have a bold, earthy flavor that is often described as a cross between parsley and fennel.

In traditional medicine, Scots Lovage has been used to treat a wide range of ailments, including digestive issues, respiratory problems, and menstrual cramps. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and has been used topically to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.

In addition to its medicinal uses, Scots Lovage is also a popular ingredient in cuisine. Its leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried to add flavor to soups, stews, sauces, and salads. The plant is also a common ingredient in Scandinavian cuisine, where it is used to flavor a variety of dishes, including fish soups and gravlax.

Scots Lovage has also been used historically as a flavoring agent in alcoholic beverages, particularly in Scandinavian countries. It is often used to flavor aquavit, a traditional Scandinavian liquor that is typically consumed during festive occasions.

Despite its many uses and benefits, Scots Lovage is not widely cultivated commercially. It is primarily found growing wild in coastal regions, and is often harvested by foragers. However, it can also be grown in gardens, provided that it is given well-drained soil and plenty of sun.

Scots Lovage has been studied for its potential health benefits, including its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. In a study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers found that Scots Lovage contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. These findings suggest that the plant may have potential in the development of new therapeutic agents for the treatment of inflammatory and infectious diseases.

In addition to its medicinal and culinary uses, Scots Lovage is also used in the cosmetic industry. The plant contains essential oils that are believed to have skin-soothing and anti-aging properties. It is used in a variety of cosmetic products, including creams, lotions, and serums.

Scots Lovage is also a valuable plant for wildlife. The plant's leaves and flowers provide food for a variety of insects, including butterflies and bees. Its seeds are eaten by birds, and its roots provide shelter for small animals and insects.

However, it is important to note that Scots Lovage should be harvested with care. Over-harvesting can deplete wild populations and harm local ecosystems. If you are interested in harvesting Scots Lovage, be sure to do so responsibly and with respect for the environment.

Scots Lovage is a plant that is relatively easy to grow, and it can be grown in a variety of settings, including gardens, balconies, and even indoor containers. It prefers well-drained soil and plenty of sun, but it can also tolerate partial shade.

If you are interested in growing Scots Lovage, you can start by purchasing seeds or seedlings from a local nursery or online retailer. Plant the seeds or seedlings in a well-draining soil mix, and water them regularly to keep the soil moist.

Once the plant is established, you can harvest its leaves and stems as needed. The leaves and stems can be used fresh or dried, and they can be stored in an airtight container for later use.

It is important to note that Scots Lovage can be a prolific self-seeder, so it is important to keep an eye on the plant and remove any unwanted seedlings to prevent them from taking over your garden or balcony.

In addition to its culinary and medicinal uses, Scots Lovage has also played a role in folklore and mythology. In Norse mythology, Scots Lovage was believed to have magical powers and was associated with the god Odin. It was also believed to have protective properties and was often used to ward off evil spirits.

In Scottish folklore, Scots Lovage was believed to have the power to cure a variety of ailments, including toothaches, headaches, and joint pain. It was also believed to have the power to ward off witches and other supernatural beings.

Scots Lovage has also been used in traditional medicine practices in indigenous cultures. In the Inuit culture, the plant was used to treat respiratory infections and digestive issues. In the Mi'kmaq culture, the plant was used as a poultice to treat wounds and skin infections.

Overall, Scots Lovage is a plant with a rich history and cultural significance. Its many uses and benefits have made it a valuable plant in traditional medicine, cuisine, and even in folklore and mythology. Whether you are interested in using it for its medicinal properties or as a flavorful ingredient in your cooking, Scots Lovage is a plant that is definitely worth exploring.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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