Osha: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information

Ligusticum porteri is a perennial herb of the Apiaceae family that grows from 50 to 100 cm tall or more. During winter months, the above-ground parts of the plant die back to a thick, woody and very aromatic rootstock.

The plant has deeply incised, elliptic or lance-shaped leaf segments that are 5 to 40 mm in width with larger basal leaves. The white flowers appear during late summer, and are approximately 2 to 5 mm in diameter with five petals. They are grouped in flat-topped, compound umbels and are followed by reddish, oblong, ribbed fruits 5 to 8 mm in length.

common names & nomenclature
The species name porteri is in honor of the botanist and Christian clergyman Thomas Conrad Porter (1822–1901). It is believed that osha means "bear" in a Native American language. However the original language is not known.

Also known as:
osha root, loveroot, lovage, porter's lovage, porter's ligusticum, osha, chuchupate, chuchupatle, wild parsley, colorado cough root, mountain ginseng, mountain carrot, nipo, indian root, wild lovage, empress of the dark forest, bear medicine. loveroot, colorado cough root, porter's licorice root

Osha: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting osha

Osha is strictly a mountain plant. This plant is dependent on mycorrhizal fungi, and attempts to artificially cultivate the plant outside of its habitat have not been successful. Osha requires partial shade.

Prefers a deep, moist soil rich in organic material.

The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in the autumn. Plant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and then plant them out into their permanent locations in the summer if they have grown large enough. Otherwise, keep them in a cold frame for the first winter and plant them out in early summer. Can also propagate by division in spring.

The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried.

Store the dried root in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Osha: Where in the World
habitat and range for osha

Ligusticum porteri is found in parts of the Rocky Mountains and northern Mexico, especially in the southwestern United States.