Friday, June 16, 2006


bishop's weed,snow-on-the-mountain, ground elder -- whatever you call it Aegopodium podagraria can be bad news if it's running rampant in your yard.
Goutweed is incredibly aggressive, spreading by long white underground rhizomes as well as by seed. It is a nightmare to many homeowners who simply can't seem to get rid of it.
(the cute little white star flowers are not part of the goutweed. Those are Star of Bethlehem, a tiny spring-flowering bulb that some also consider invasive)

This groundcover has flattopped clustered 5-petal flowers in late spring. They ride high above the foliage and resemble Queen Anne's Lace.

I have this often-cursed groundcover in a few areas in my yard. I think the varigiated foliage is quite attractive.

In this shady area in the back of my deck it actually works quite well. It's been here about 10 years and as long as I diligently deadhead those flowers before they produce seed and dig out any creeping under the rocks each spring, I have been able to keep it under control.

I had it in another area on the side of my garage as a groundcover for a yew hedge. That area receives more sun and I found it too difficult to maintain.

The only way I could get rid of it was by using RoundUp. It took two summers of applying the RoundUp about every two weeks to every tiny little piece I spotted popping up. It is finally gone in that area.

This is probably a plant that the average suburban homeowner would not want.

Don't plant it unless you have a difficult area where nothing else will grow, you have room for it to spread and you don't mind giving it the attention it requires to keep it in line.


  1. I like the variegated 'Snow in the Mountain' that I got from my late mother-in-law years ago. Somewhere down the road it turned all green and looks like a weed to me. I have it along one side of the house and am trying to eradicate it-not an easy job to say the least.
    Zoey-have a great weekend! We are very close to Atlantic City, but we don't go there that often. My father-in-law takes the bus down several times a week. This of course makes us wonder if he is addicted to it.
    I was wondering if you ever addressed when you started your large perennial garden? I am thinking about just combining some gardens I have out back to one big one. How large is yours? How often do you add new plants to it?

  2. I'm fighting this one. I curse it I curse it I curse it!

    It laughs at me.

  3. It's funny that you should mention this goutweed because a couple of weeks ago I noticed I had this stuff growing all over along the side of my front of my neighbours told me it was goutweed and to get rid of it, or I'd be steady fighting with it. I hurriedly got all I could...we'll see if I got it all! I had never had this in my flowerbeds before and have no idea where it came from!!

  4. I had some moments of near-panic a few days ago when I was afraid I wouldn't get the flower heads picked off in time. Now I'm seriously considering getting rid of my goutweed. It hurts. I grow it in a difficult area and it's so-o-o-o beautiful.

  5. It took a small excavator to get rid of it out of my yard. I have it a work though in area where it is bordered my cement drives. It looks lovely in the shade and the soil is so poor and dry that nothing else would do well any way. Every spot has a plant and this one works there:).

  6. I'm in Nova Scotia, and on a mission to eradicate the goutweed that's taking over the yard at my new home ... although we've spent hours on digging out the flower bed at the side of the house, we're not near the end ... or the beginning of the end. It still feels like we're at the beginning of the beginning. This is going to be a fight.

    I'm going to take on the back half of the yard with a weed whacker tonight ... and blast the hell out of it with Roundup when it comes back.

    And, for the record, my first idea for handling it was "cover it with gas and set it on fire" ... but, sadly, we're not even allowed backyard bonfires in my neighbourhood.


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