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Great angelica is impressive in size and appearance, with large, white flowers and purple stems. This is a summer to early fall perennial with an aromatic presence that is appealing. Though it has a short lifespan, great angelica self-seeds readily. This species is native to the Chicago region according to Swink and Wilhelm’s Plants of the Chicago Region and current research.

  • Family (English) Parsley
  • Family (botanic) Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae)
  • Tree or plant type Perennial
  • Native locale Chicago area, Illinois, North America
  • Size range Large plant (more than 24 inches)
  • Light exposure Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily), Partial sun / shade (4-6 hrs light daily)
  • Hardiness zones Zone 4, Zone 5 (Northern Illinois), Zone 6 (City of Chicago), Zone 7
  • Soil preference Alkaline soil, Moist, Sandy soil, Wet soil
  • Tolerances Alkaline soil, Occasional flooding, Wet sites
  • Season of interest early summer, midsummer, late summer, early fall
  • Flower color and fragrance Fragrant, White
  • Shape or form Narrow, Upright
  • Growth rate Slow
  • Wildlife Butterflies, Insect pollinators


The size may vary depending on the conditions of the habitat, but great angelica generally reaches heights between 6 to 9 feet. Typically great angelica is propagated by seeds or division. To encourage self-seeding, remove any surrounding mulch in the early fall. If self-seeding becomes a problem, remove flower heads after bloom.

Native geographic location and habitat: 

Great angelica is native to the Eastern United States and into the Midwest. C Value: 7.

Attracts birds or pollinators: 

Great angelica attracts bees, butterflies, and wasps.

Leaf description: 

Great angelica has alternate, compound, egg-shaped (ovate) leaves with toothed edges (serrate margins) that grow mainly on the bottom half of the plant. The lower leaves are very large, sometimes up to 2 feet in length and width. The upper leaves often have a rounded bottom and long, pointed tips (lanceolate elliptic) in shape, and they are reduced in size.

Flower description: 

One or more spheres of flowers (compound umbels) will grow at the terminal ends of upper stems of great angelica. The flowers that comprise each umbel are white and green in color. The individual flowers are one-quarter inch in diameter, and the umbels are 3 to 9 inches across.

Fruit description: 

The fruit of great angelica are dry, separate, one-seeded segments (schizocarps) that are somewhat flattened and oblong with thin edges (lateral wings) along the sides of each segment.

Plant care:

Great angelica prefers moist conditions, so underwatering may be an issue for this plant. Mulching can help to maintain soil moisture.

List of pests, diseases, and tolerances:

Though great angelica prefers moist habitats, crown rot can be an issue for this plant. Insect pests that can be an issue include leaf miners, spider mites, and aphids. This is a plant that can tolerate some flooding. The taproot makes this a difficult plant to transplant.


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