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Angelica pipe.

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Or, well, umbellifer pipe, really.

And perhaps not quite pipe, but rather something you can blow into that then makes a sound. Woooo! or Weeeee!

I did a week-long field thingy a week or three ago. And one of my students showed me how to make this.


1) find a nice angelica flower, preferably one that's damaged in some way. This one was laying down until I lifted it up; the angelicas only have the one flowerstalk, and these are biennials, so if you cut the flower they won't be able to seed at all.

Photo: Angelica sylvestris 12. Pic: Long angelica stem.

2) cut the flowerstalk, and cut the stem below and above a node, so that your bit of stalk has two nodes.

Photo: Angelica sylvestris 13. Pic: The first cut.

4) make another cut at the same spot, at a much lesser angle, and only at the top bit of the first cut.

Photo: Angelica sylvestris 14. Pic: The second cut.

5) and of course, you can make another pipe from the other half of the piece of cut stem.

Photo: Angelica sylvestris 15. How it works: blow into the stem with your mouth at the second cut. Hold the stem straight down from there; yep, it should touch your chin. You should get a higher or deeper "oooooo" sound, depending on the depth of the pipe and on the width of the stem.

I used our wild angelica (Angelica sylvestris).
I've also made a lovage pipe from a fallen lovage stem (Levisticum officinale), and a goutweed pipe from a goutweed flowerstalk (Aegopodium podagraria); the goutweed pipe didn't keep after it dried, though.

The lady who showed me how to make these also made another kind, where you cut across the bottom part of the stem, but I haven't managed to get that one to work. On the other hand, she also said that this particular pipe would only work with the angelica, and here I am, happily getting sound out of lovage and goutweed stalks as well. (I haven't tried others; if you try others remember that there's deadlies in the umbellifers). So that about evens things out, eh? I'll call her one of these days and ask for details on the other way to get an angelica stem to sound.

I think that the best part of traditions is that you can pass them on.

And of course, I'll be able to make'em years from now, when I've forgotten all about them, because I've documented things now.

Weeee! Or "oooooo"!


Around here wild angelica, cow parsley, is a prolific weed. It has to be managed as it's such good ground cover that nothing else will grow underneath it. No worries about cutting too many stems here. It propogates really well too, you often get a cluster of young plants tightly bound to each other, maybe sprouting from a bird pellet full of seeds.

Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) is not a wild angelica (Angelica sp.).
While the cow parsley is prolific, it's still a series of solitary plants, not a groundcover: dig one up, you'll find a taproot.

We have only one groundcover umbellifer here, and that's goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria). No taproots, just underground runners.

These are different medicinally, and there's toxics in the umbellifers, so it's best to be sure of species (or at least genus) before you use one of them.