Invasive Plants of Wisconsin
gout-weed; Bishop's weed; snow-on-the-mountain;
Aegopodium podagraria is a member of the familiar Apiaceae or Parsley family. Flowering plants in sunny sites may reach a height of about 70 cm, but on woodland sites the plants are mostly 20-30 cm tall, with alternate, compound leaves with sheathing bases. Not all plants have the distinctive white borders shown above.
Aegopodium podagraria is widely planted in yards. It is not yet a major invasive species in Wisconsin and it may never be, but it has the potential to persist for long periods where it has been planted or discarded and to spread into adjacent woodlands. It is known to be very difficult to remove once established and it seems better to be cautious with this species. There is no question that when it is well established it is very aggressive and can crowd out a large proportion of the native species that would otherwise grow there. It does not appear to produce viable seed, so spread is primarily or entirely by vegetative means. It is very easy to recognize, so the best plan is to find new sites quickly and destroy the plants. Attempts to control it by pulling or even digging the plants have been largely unsuccessful unless all the rhizomes are removed. The recommended control is to use an herbicide on young leaves, as mature leaves are very resistant. Follow-up will probably be required.
This species is much more widely spread than the map indicates. The record of distribution of plants in Wisconsin depends on the (mostly voluntary) collection of vouchers sent to state herbaria.