Aegopodium podagraria is a perennial herb 40-100 cm tall; erect, branched, aggressively colonial from rhizomes; crushed plant smelling strongly of fennel (licorice-like); basal rosette often semi-evergreen.
Leaves alternate, lower leaves with stalk to 40 cm, base clasping stem, upper leaves mostly stalkless, blade irregularly 3 x 3 compound with about 9 leaflets, leaflets egg-shaped, 3-8 cm, toothed, primary lateral veins directed only into teeth, not sinuses of margin, base less than 1 cm wide when flattened.
Flowers white, very small, asymmetrical, petals 5, separate, about 0.1 cm long, ovary 2-parted, styles 2, elongate; inflorescence of dense, compound umbrella-shaped clusters (umbels), 6-12 cm wide; blooming June-Aug. Pollinated by small flies, beetles and bees (Swearingen, J. 2007).
Fruit dry, 2-parted, to 0.4 cm long, styles persistent, curved back along fruit segments (Tenaglia 2005). Rarely blooms.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Infrequent, but colonies can be locally extensive.
Habitat: Moist, open woods, shaded edges.
Notes: Shade tolerant. Very invasive, excluding native plants. Banned in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont (USDA, NRCS 2006).