Ground Elder

Common Name

  • Ground elder

Latin Name

  • Aegopodium podagraria

Habitat & Distribution

  • Ground elder can be found throughout the UK, it is a native species commonly found in grasslands, farmland, woodlands and gardens.

What’s the problem?

  • Ground elder is an herbaceous perennial species which can quickly become invasive, creating dense stands which outcompete other species.
  • The plants spread via seed but mainly via underground rhizomes which can regenerate from small fragments, making infestations difficult to eradicate.

In Detail

  • The plant is a member of the carrot family, introduced to the UK from continental Europe as a medicinal plant and pot herb.
  • Seed dispersal is limited and seed bank is short lived. The plant is mainly spread through transferal of rhizome which can be spread accidentally in soils. Rhizomes can spread up to 90cm a year.
  • Although it can be invasive, the white flowers provide a pollen and nectar source to a range of insects in the summer months.


  • Root and rhizome system remain dormant over the winter period and are whitish in colour.
  • In early spring leaf stalks emerge from the ground producing three lobed-leaves.
  • Flowers are present from June to August and are white in colour, arranged in compact umbels resembling the flower of the Elder Tree (an unrelated species).

Control Methods


  • Plants can be dug out but it is essential that all the rhizome is removed. If rhizome fragments are left they can produce new plants and potentially make the problem worse.


  • Infestations can be effectively treated with herbicide whilst the plants are actively growing in mid-summer. Additional applications may be required later in the year.

    If you would like a quotation for control, please contact one of our specialist surveyors. Treatment costs start from £380.00 + VAT.