Bi-ennials are plants which take two years before producing seeds, flowering or growing fruit.

In their first year they will develop roots, generally a thick, deep tap root; plus stems and leaves, often referred to as a ‘basal clump’, or low mound of foliage.

If the plant is a weed, or just generally not in the right place in your garden, this can be a good time to dig it out, complete with its long tap root.

Honesty (Lunaria) a cottage garden favourite, is an ornamental bi-ennial.

However, some of the herbs and food crops we grow are also bi-ennials, such as parsley and carrots.

With Parsley – both flat leaved and curly leaved forms – we use the first year’s leaves in cooking and as a garnish. What you probably haven’t seen are the flowers it sends up in the second year.

We eat the roots of the plant as they are full of sweet, sugary starch. These roots are a food store, that the plant would otherwise use as energy in its subsequent year of growth, to provide flowers and set seed.

parsley in the snow, Petroselinum crispum, winter herbs, biennial plant

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