Angelica polymorpha is surely a plant that lives up to its specific epithet. As the botanical name tells you, it has "many forms". Seedlings from a particular plant will surprise you with progeny ranging in height from 12" - 60". Some will have far flung branches and some are very tight and compact. But no matter what the size, shape or stature, this is a plant that stops garden tourists dead in their tracks.
Angelica polymorpha is not a biennial, although most people think that all Angelicas and most plants in this family are. Instead, it is monocarpic. Monocarpism implies that a plant lives as many years as necessary to produce a seed crop and then dies. Other monocarps include, Sempervivum, you know those cute little "Hens and Chicks". Did you ever notice that after flowering and producing seed, the "Hen" plant in the center dies and you are left with a ring of "Chicks"?
By the way, speaking of families, here's one that's had a recent name change. Formerly know as the Umbelliferae family, (which made a lot of sense as all of the plants that I know in the family produce flowers in umbels), the new name for the family is Apiaceae. This makes no sense, as none of the plants resemble Apes. Maybe it has something to do with Bees. I really have to plead ignorance here, I'll get back to ya on that one. Anyway, a lot of food and herb crops are to be found in this family, Celery, Coriander, Fennel, Anise, Caraway, etc etc.
I allow Angelica polymorpha to go nuts in my garden and seed itself around everywhere. If I discover that one is crowding out something that can't defend itself, I'll move it. This is a bold plant, great standing alone or in an imposing colony of treelike soldiers on the march. The fragrant, creamy white flowers have a stellar appearance.
I've put up a gallery of images of Angelica polymorpha for you to see at: http://sunfarm.com/plantlist/angelicapolymorpha.phtml
The only way to propagate Angelica polymorpha is to collect the abundant seed set. They're very easy to germinate, and plants usually flower in their second year, insuring that you'll have a good supply of seeds to keep the line going.
Kingdom - Plantae - Plants
Subkingdom - Tracheobionta - Vascular plants
Superdivision - Spermatophyta - Seed plants
Division - Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class - Magnoliopsida -dicotyledons
Subclass - Rosidae
Order - Apiales
Family - Apiaceae, formerly Umbelliferae
Genus - Angelica
Species - polymorpha
Common name - genus - "Wild Celery"
Common name - species - "Dong Quai"
Synonyms - Angelica polymorpha
Native range - Asia
USDA Hardiness Zone - 5, maybe 4
Light preference - Full sun to part shade
Soil fertility preference - Average
Soil moisture preference - Average
Bloom time - Mid Summer
Bloom color - White, fragrant
Foliage - Medium green
Spread - 18" - 36"
Height - 48" - 96"
Landscape uses - As a bold statement plant
Related species - More than 50
Medicinal uses - See http://www.healthreaction.com/web/articles/dongquai.htm
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