Ground Elder

Ground Elder

Aegopodium podagraria

Also known as Bishop’s Weed, Herb Gerard, Bishop’s Goutweed

Vuohenputki (FIN)

Kirskål (SVE)


  • The leaves have three main branches and a V-shaped stem.
  • The scent of this plant resembles carrot or celery. Crush a leaf to get smell the scent.
  • Ground elder spreads aggressively so you’ll never find just one ground elder plant. 
  • It has a pale green color and specially the young leaves has a pale, almost translucent green color.
  • Note that there are poisonous species in the Carrot family, (Apiaceae) so you’ll need to be 100% sure about the identification before eating.  For example

    poisonous Hemlock (Conium maculatum).

Distribution & Habitat

Woodlands, hedgerows, gardens, graveyards, generally close to human habitation.

Foraging season

The first young ground elder plants can be found in May or even April in Finland. If you have a patch of ground elder keep cutting it back and young fresh leaves will grow back in no time. Ground elder blooms from June to August.

In cooking

The young translucent leaves are best for salads and the slightly older leaves can be cooked like spinach. Ground elder has a mild, carrot-like and parsley-like flavour and scent, making it a natural partner for vegetables and fish, and is good as a pot herb or salad ingredient. It can be used in salads, omelettes, pesto, pizza, savoury pies etc. Ground elder is particularly suitable in foods with basil, goat cheese and halloumi.

Herbal Salt

Dried ground elder is an excellent ingredient in homemade herbal salts. By using herbal salts your daily salt intake will decrease and you’ll imperceptible eat more healthy herbs.

The taste of dried ground elder is aromatic, fresh and soft. You can make a herbal salt with just dried ground elder and some high-quality salt like Guérande sea salt or make a combination of several aromatic herbs. Suitable herbs for a homemade herbal salt are for example nettle, yarrow, lovage and spring onion but you can use your imagination and try whatever herbs you like – wild or garden herbs.

Dry the freshly foraged ground elders (and other herbs you like) gently in 35 degrees. Make sure that the herbs are fully dried. Grind the dried herbs in a mixer and mix the herb powder with the salt. 

Herbal salt with ground elder is a good universal spice that is a perfect add to most dishes. 

Preserve the herbal salt in a dry place.

Ground Elder Pancakes

Wild herbs like ground elder are perfect topping for savory pancakes and crepes. 

Mix fresh chopped ground elder and basil and mix them with cream cheese. Flavor with herbal salt. 

You’ll need

  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 500ml oat drink
  • oil or butter for frying

Using a hand whisk, combine the flour, eggs and milk with a big pinch of salt in a large bowl.

Heat a pan or waffle iron until very hot, then pour a little oil or butter into the pan. Swirl the pan so the oil creates an even covering. Ladle a spoonful of the pancake mixture into the pan and tip the pan so the mixture fills the pan in an even layer. Cook for 30 seconds (time might vary depending on stove or waffle iron). Keep on a plate covered with foil in a warm oven while you make the remaining pancakes. Add the cream cheese topping and additional toppings before serving.

Skillet Bread with Ground Elder

You’ll need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 200g cream cheese or dairyfree alt 
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp psyllium
  • 2 dl almond flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Herbal butter:

  • 50g butter or dairyfree alt
  • 2 crused garlic cloves
  • 3 dl fresh chopped ground elder

Heat to oven to 175 degrees with the pan inside. Mix the eggs and the cheese. Mix the dry ingredients. Mix all together. Let the dough swell for 10 min. The dough will be quite moist. Mix the herbal butter ingredients.
Shape 4-6 buns with wet hands. Place the buns in the pan and place herbal butter between the buns. Bake for 30-35min. Enjoy!

Nutritional values

This superweed contains iron, magnesium and vitamin C.

Medicinal properties

Ground elder is a herb that stimulates the digestion system, cleanses the body, relieves spring fatigue and improves blood composition.

Lore & Magical herbalism

Ground elder is also called Bishop’s weed for the reason that monks and nuns use to cultivate it for food and medicine, also in Finland. The alternative name goutweed refers to that ground elder was used to cure gout.

Ground elder symbolizes new energy, insatiable growth filled with joy, strength and tirelessness. This herb is connected with the lower chakras, the root chakra, the sacral chakra and solar plexus.


Wild herbs


Wild herbs


Wild Herbs

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