Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Levisticum
Species: L. officinale
Binomial name
Levisticum officinale

Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a tall perennial plant, the sole species in the genus Levisticum, in the family Apiaceae, subfamily Apioideae, tribe Apieae.[1][2]



The exact native range is disputed; some sources cite it as native to much of Europe and southwestern Asia,[3] others from only the eastern Mediterranean region in southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia,[4] and yet others only to southwestern Asia in Iran and Afghanistan, citing European populations as naturalised.[5][6] It has been long cultivated in Europe, the leaves being used as a herb, the roots as a vegetable, and the seeds as a spice, especially in southern European cuisine.[4]


Lovage flowers

Lovage is an erect herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1.8–2.5 m tall, with a basal rosette of leaves and stems with further leaves, the flowers being produced in umbels at the top of the stems. The stems and leaves are shiny glabrous green to yellow-green. The larger basal leaves are up to 70 cm long, tripinnate, with broad triangular to rhomboidal, acutely pointed leaflets with a few marginal teeth; the stem leaves are smaller, and less divided with few leaflets. The flowers are yellow to greenish-yellow, 2–3 mm diameter, produced in globose umbels up to 10–15 cm diameter; flowering is in late spring. The fruit is a dry two-parted schizocarp 4–7 mm long, mature in autumn.[4][5][7]


The leaves can be used in salads, or to make soup, and the roots can be eaten as a vegetable or grated for use in salads. Its flavor and smell is very similar to celery. Lovage tea can be applied to wounds as an antiseptic, or drunk to stimulate digestion. The seeds can be used as a spice, similar to fennel seeds.[4] In the UK, an alcoholic lovage cordial is traditionally mixed with brandy in the ratio of 2:1 as a winter drink.[8] Lovage is second only to capers in its quercetin content.[9]

The roots, which contain a heavy, volatile oil, are used as a mild aquaretic. Lovage root contains furanocoumarins which can lead to photosensitivity.[citation needed]


Lovage plant

The name 'lovage' is from "love-ache", ache being a medieval name for parsley; this is a folk-etymological corruption of the older French name levesche, from late Latin levisticum, in turn thought to be a corruption of the earlier Latin ligusticum, "of Liguria" (northwest Italy), where the herb was grown extensively.[10] In modern botanical usage, both Latin forms are now used, for different, but closely related genera, with Levisticum for (culinary) Lovage, and Ligusticum for Scots Lovage, a similar species from northern Europe, and related species.[10][5] In Germany and Holland, one of the common names of Lovage is Maggikraut (German) or Maggiplant (Dutch) because the plant's taste is reminiscent of Maggi soup seasoning. Italian levistico, French livèche, Romanian leuştean, Hungarian lestyán, Russian любисток lyubistok, etc. In Bulgaria it is known as девесил deveseel. The Czech name is libeček, and the Polish name is lubczyk, both meaning 'love herb'. The name in Swedish is libbsticka. The official German name is Liebstöckel, literally 'love sticklet'.[11]


  1. ^ Pimenov, M. G., & Leonov, M. V. (1993). The Genera of the Umbelliferae. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN 0-947643-58-3
  2. ^ Downie, S. R., Plunkett, G. M., Watson, M. F., Spalik, K., Katz-Downie, D. S., Valiejo-Roman, C. M., Terentieva, E. I., Troitsky, A. V., Lee, B.-Y., Lahham, J., & El-Oqlah, A. (2001). Tribes and clades within Apiaceae subfamily Apioideae: the contribution of molecular data. Edinburgh Journal of Botany 58: 301-330.
  3. ^ Den virtuella floran: Levisticum officinale (Swedish), with map
  4. ^ a b c d Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening 3: 60. Macmillan ISBN 0-333-47494-5.
  5. ^ a b c Blamey, M. & Grey-Wilson, C. (1989). Illustrated Flora of Britain and Northern Europe. ISBN 0-340-40170-2
  6. ^ Germplasm Resources Information Network: Levisticum officinale
  7. ^ Interactive Flora of NW Europe: Levisticum officinale (Lovage)
  8. ^ http://www.farehamwinecellar.co.uk/0/4c7a5def1b38652380256a73004609dc.html Information on Lovage Cordial
  9. ^ USDA Database for the Flavonoid Content of Selected Foods nal.usda.gov, March 2003
  10. ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary
  11. ^ Source: http://www.dict.cc/?s=Liebst%C3%B6ckel See also German wikipedia article

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  • Lovage — (dt.: Liebstöckel) ist ein Bandprojekt des japanisch amerikanischen Produzenten Dan the Automator (Pseudonym: Nathaniel Merriweather). Das erste Album Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By erschien am 5. November 2001. Mike Patton und Jennifer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Lovage — Lov age, n. [F. liv[ e]che, fr. L. levisticum, ligusticum, a plant indigenous to Liguria, lovage, from Ligusticus Ligustine, Ligurian, Liguria a country of Cisalpine Gaul.] (Bot.) An umbelliferous plant ({Levisticum officinale}), sometimes used… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • lovage — [luv′ij] n. [ME loveache, altered (by assoc. with love, LOVE & ache, ACHE) < OFr levesche < LL levisticum for L ligusticum, lovage, plant native to Liguria < Ligusticus, Ligurian, after Liguria, country in Cisalpine Gaul] a European… …   English World dictionary

  • lovage — ► NOUN ▪ a large edible white flowered plant of the parsley family. ORIGIN Old French luvesche, from Latin ligusticus of or from Liguria (in NW Italy) …   English terms dictionary

  • lovage — /luv ij/, n. a European plant, Levisticum officinale, of the parsley family, having coarsely toothed compound leaves, cultivated in gardens. [1350 1400; ME loveache < AF luvesche (by assoc. with ache celery < L apium) < OE lufestice (by syncope)… …   Universalium

  • lovage — vaistinė gelsvė statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Salierinių šeimos prieskoninis, vaistinis augalas (Levisticum officinale), paplitęs pietvakarių Azijoje (Afganistane ir Irane). Iš jo gaminami maisto priedai (kvėpikliai). atitikmenys: lot.… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • lovage — gelsvė statusas T sritis augalininkystė atitikmenys: lot. Levisticum angl. lovage rus. зоря; любисток …   Žemės ūkio augalų selekcijos ir sėklininkystės terminų žodynas

  • lovage — noun Etymology: Middle English lovache, from Anglo French luvasche, lovasche, from Late Latin levisticum, alteration of Latin ligusticum, from neuter of ligusticus Ligurian, from Ligur , Ligus, noun, Ligurian Date: 14th century any of several… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • lovage — noun /ˈlʌvɪdʒ/ A perennial Mediterranean herb, with green flowers …   Wiktionary

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