Angelica atropurpurea (Angelica)

Plant Info
Also known as: Great Angelica, Purple-stemmed Angelica
Family:Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; wet meadows, wet ditches, seeps, fens, floodplains
Bloom season:June
Plant height:6 to 8 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: none MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] Convex to round clusters (umbels) 4 to 9 inches across, made up of 20 to 45 smaller round clusters (umbellets) of 20 to 45 flowers each. Flower stalks are about ½ inch long and umbellet stalks are 2 to 4 inches long. The star-shaped flowers are green to whitish, about ¼ inch across, with 5 petals, 5 spidery stamens, a divided style in the center and 5 pointed oval sepals around the base.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Lower leaves are 3 or 4 times compound and very large, up to 2 feet long and as wide, with 3 to 5 leaflets on a branch. Leaflets are up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, the upper leaves reduced in size, lance elliptic, sometimes with one or two deep lobes, especially the end leaflet. Edges are sharply toothed, surfaces mostly smooth or with fine hairs on the underside.

[photo of stem] Leaf stalks are long with a large green to purple sheath at the base. Stems are stout and smooth with a hollow core, and are purple in color at maturity.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

Fruits are oblong to elliptic, ¼ inch or less in length, flat with thin, winged edges


Angelica is a strong contender for Minnesota's tallest wildflower with an occasional specimen topping out at a whopping 9 feet. It may be mistaken for Cow Parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), which it can be found growing side-by-side, except Angelica atropurpurea is smooth throughout, its small flowers lack the white petals found in Cow Parsnip, and Cow Parsnip has palmately compound leaves with leaflets that are rather broader.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Seminary Fen, Carver County, Battle Creek Park, Ramsey County, and along the Snake River campground road, Aitkin County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Goodhue, Houston and Ramsey counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: George - Minneapolis
on: 2015-08-16 12:54:30

Where can I purchase Angelica in the Minneapolis area?

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2015-08-17 04:39:39

See "where to buy native seeds and plants" that's on almost every page.

Posted by: Kenny h - Mower county Shooting Star Trail
on: 2017-06-18 13:31:59

We are on the far western fringe for this plants range...also saw it growing around East Side Lake...and Two Creeks Ranch, South of Austin.

Posted by: S Clark - Austin
on: 2019-06-22 23:10:52

Many growing at Jay Hormel nature center

Posted by: Sue D - Red Wing, on the Goodhue Pioneer State Trail
on: 2019-06-29 11:28:56

Lots of this growing on both sides of the trail, a/k/a Hay Creek Trail, in the more open, sunnier portion at the beginning of the trail. Once the trail gets more woodsy, you don't find it. Quite tall and blooming now, late June 2019.

Posted by: Susan premo - Under mendota bridge, Ft. Snelling St. Park
on: 2019-06-30 14:06:39

About 8 ft. Tall. Done flowering. Also a milk weed plant very close by, at first thought I thought narrow leaves, because they were quite narrow, but read what was said about it. Still had some blooms, I will try and send photos through Facebook.

Posted by: Luci - FT Snelling historic site, Sibley side.
on: 2020-05-23 22:29:18

Growing along the floodplain on the Mendota side of Ft. Snelling. Should be blooming in a couple weeks.

Posted by: Bwhaley - Wright county
on: 2021-06-27 18:17:19

A few plants along the Mississippi in Otsego. Saw these last winter but thought they were Cow Parsnip at the time.

Posted by: Darlene M Dillehay
on: 2022-06-21 09:18:52

There is a specimen outside the horticulture bldg at the state fair, it must self seed in that spot because it's always there. This is the only one I've ever seen and I was amazed. I never see it in gardens because of the wasps maybe?!!? Those burgundy stems and flowers with wasps, very goth.

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-06-21 09:41:07

Darlene, you probably don't normally see it in gardens because it is such a large plant and wants fairly moist conditions, better suited to shorelines than the average residential yard.

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