Content Detail

Bishop’s weed was sold as a fast growing ground cover for many years. Although it is still available in some areas, it is very aggressive and should only be used after careful consideration of the planting site. In some eastern states, it is considered a noxious weed and is banned or prohibited.

  • Family (English) Parsley
  • Family (botanic) Apiaceae
  • Tree or plant type Ground cover, Perennial
  • Native locale Non-native
  • Size range Small plant (6-12 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily), Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7, Zone 8, Zone 9
  • Soil preference Acid soil, Alkaline soil, Moist, well-drained soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, clay soil, Dry sites, Occasional drought, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest late spring, early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall, mid fall
  • Flower color and fragrance White
  • Shape or form Creeping, Mounded
  • Growth rate Fast
  • Planting considerations Aggressive

Size and Method of spreading:

Bishop’s weed grows up to one foot high and is a colonizing ground cover. Colonizing ground covers produce underground stems that spread out horizontally and shallowly, produce roots and then send up new shoots. These plants are aggressive growers. 

Native geographic location and habitat: 

This plant is native to Europe.

Leaf description: 

The leaves are compound, divided into three sets of three leaflets each. The leaflets are coarsely serrate. Leaves of the species are green, but a cultivar with variegated leaves is the form most commonly sold.

Flower description: 

Small white flowers are produced in compound umbels in early to mid-summer. The flower stalks usually extend above the foliage about six inches. They are not excessively showy and deadheading them can reduce the number of seeds formed.

Fruit description: 

The small, dry fruit (schizocarps) are not ornamentally important. Removing them before they ripen will help reduce the spread of this plant.

Plant care: 

Bishop’s weed can adapt to a wide range of conditions which partially explains its aggressive nature. The plant may wilt or scorch in full sun under dry conditions.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances: 

The biggest problem with this ground cover will be controlling it. It not only spreads aggressively through rhizomes, but it also goes to seed readily.

Variegated Bishop’s weed (Aegopodium podagraria ‘Variegatum’): 

This cultivar is considered less aggressive, but that does not mean this plant will stay put. The leaves are edged in creamy white.


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