Charles Day is Wave Hill’s Ruth Rea Howell Senior Horticultural Interpreter.
Korean angelica has the familiar appearance of many members of the parsley family (Apiaceae), except that the umbrella-shaped flower-clusters (umbels) and stems are a deep maroon color, rather than the more usual yellow or white of most of this family.
It is a self-sowing biennial plant, meaning that it germinates readily in the spring from seeds that dropped from ripe seed heads the previous fall, but it takes two years to reach maturity. The first year’s growth produces a rosette of foliage with no flowers.
As with many other self-sowing plants, our gardeners have to recognize these plants as soon as they have germinated so as to avoid removing them when weeding.
In the second year, after a winter’s dormancy, the plant is sufficiently established to produce a flower stalk and, by late summer, it sports several tennis-ball sized (or larger), purple flower-heads. They are loaded with nectar and attract many types of pollinator, including butterflies, honeybees and a surprising selection of wasps.
There are some fine examples in the Wild Garden and this is a great time to see them.