Archangelica atropurpurea Hoffm. Umbelliferae. Great Angelica. Masterwort.
North America. This plant is found from New England to Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and northward. Stille says the stems are sometimes candied. The root is used in domestic medicines as an aromatic and stimulant.
Archangelica gmelini DC. Angelica.
Northwest Asia. This species is used for culinary purposes by the Russians in Kamchatka. The root, dug in the autumn of the first year, is used in medicine as an aromatic tonic and possesses the taste and smell of the seeds.
Archangelica officinalis Hoffm. Angelica. Archangel. Wild Parsnip.
Europe, Siberia and Himalayan regions. This plant is a native of the north of Europe and is found in the high, mountainous regions in south Europe, as in Switzerland and among the Pyrenees. It is also found in Alaska. Angelica is cultivated in various parts of Europe and is occasionally grown in American gardens. The whole plant has a fragrant odor and aromatic properties. Angelica is held in great estimation in Lapland, where the natives strip the stem of leaves, and the soft, internal part, after the outer skin has been pulled off, is eaten raw like an apple or turnip. In Kamchatka, the roots are distilled and a kind of spirit is made from them, and on the islands of Alaska, where it is abundant and called wild parsnip, it is stated by Dall to be edible. Angelica has been in cultivation in England since 1568. The leaf-stalks were formerly blanched and eaten like celery. The plant is in request for the use of confectioners, who make an excellent sweetmeat with the tender stems, stalks, and ribs of the leaves candied with sugar. The seeds enter into the composition of many liquors. In the north of Europe, the leaves and stalks are still used as a vegetable.
The medicinal properties of the root were highly prized in the Middle Ages. In Pomet, we read that the seed is much used to make angelica comfits as well as the root for medicine. Bryant deems it the best aromatic that Europe produces. This plant must be a native of northern Europe, for there are no references to it in the ancient authors of Greece and Rome, nor is it mentioned by Albertus Magnus in the thirteenth century. By Fuchsius, 1542, and succeeding authors it receives proper attention. The German name, Heilige Geist Wurz, implies the estimation in which it was held and offers a clue to the origin of the word Angelica, or angel plant, which occurs in so many languages, as in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian, becoming Angelique and Archangelique in French, and Angelickwurz in German. Other names of like import are the modern Engelwurz in Germany, Engelkruid in Flanders and Engelwortel in Holland.
The various figures given by herbalists show the same type of plant, the principal differences to be noted being in the size of the root. Pena and Lobel, 1570, note a smaller variety as cultivated in England, Belgium, and France, and Gesner is quoted by Camerarius as having seen roots of three pounds weight. Bauhin, 1623, says the roots vary, the Swiss-grown being thick, those of Bohemia smaller and blacker.
Garden angelica is noticed amongst American garden medicinal herbs by McMahon, 1806, and the seed is still sold by our seedsmen.