Habitat: Woodland angelica can be found in the floodplain plant community. It is found mainly in riparian habitats, open woods, marshes and fields, mostly on richer non-acidic soils.
Description: Woodland angelica is a tall (1-3 m), robust, biennial or short-lived perennial plant. The stems are 2-5 cm in diameter, hollow, ridged, often branched and purplish. The leaves are large and leaf stalks are long. The leaves (often over 50 cm in length) are divided into many, oval finely toothed leaflets (3-8 cm long) and the lower leaf surface is hairy along the veins. The leaves gradually decrease in size towards the top of the stem. Stems are topped by a large, rounded, umbrella-shaped inflorescence, which contains clusters of small white flowers. The branches of the flower clusters are densely covered in fine hairs. The fruits are flattened, oval and winged, and 4-6 mm in diameter.
Origin and Range: Native to most of Europe and Western Asia, this tall, purple-stemmed herbaceous plant was intentionally introduced as a garden herb in the 18th century. In North America, the species is only known from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Woodland Angelica has been in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia for a long time, and has spread aggressively in recent decades. It is particularly common along the mid-and lower Saint John River.
Annual Cycle: Woodland angelica is a perennial that reproduces by seed and may also spread by rhizomes (root-like underground stems). Woodland angelica is in flower from July to September.
Look Alikes: It may be confused with: cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum), which has large coarsely toothed leaves that are not divided into small leaflets and hairy stems that are mainly green; Queen-Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), which is a much shorter plant
with much smaller finely-divided leaves (only reaching a length of 15 cm) and purple alexanders (Angelica atropurpurea) which is extremely similar but is a native species of wild habitats, mostly found along river shores in the northern interior rather than disturbed habitats in the south of the province.
Impacts: Woodland angelica is an aggressive species able to establish in natural areas where it can displace native plants and degrade wildlife habitat. CAUTION: Woodland angelica has a chemical in the sap that can cause skin rashes and blisters when
exposed to ultraviolet light, including sunlight.