A large forb of lush meadows from the lowlands to the alpine zone, Angelica lucida (wild celery) has divided leaves and large umbels of white flowers. Plants grow 30-60 cm tall from a taproot. All the leaves arise from the thick stem, the petiole with a conspicuous inflated sheath at the base. The large leaves are pinnately or bipinnately divided, the leaflets ovate with narrow tips and white-tipped serrate margins. Plants may be branched, with one to a few inflorescences. Topping the stem is a compound umbel (an umbel of umbels), with 20-45 rays of unequal length. The overall appearance is flat-topped, slightly rounded or uneven, round in outline. Each smaller umbel contains many tiny perfect flowers. The flowers have five small greenish-white to white petals, and five white stamens, much longer than the petals. Each flower produces two small fruits. The fruits are oval shaped, flat on one side and with ribs on the other. Wild celery could potentially be confused with cow parsnip (Heracleum lanatum), but that plant is much larger (growing up to 1.5 m high) and has pubescent leaves and stems (check with handlens). Jakutsk snowparsley (Cnidium cnidiifolium) also has many small white flowers in an umbel and divided leaves, but the leaf segments are much more finely divided, and it tends to grow in drier sites as compared to the moist, lush sites wild celery inhabits.
Angelica lucida is perennial and flowers in mid-summer.
Flowers are bisexual (plants monoecious). The flowers are likely insect-pollinated, but there have been no studies on the reproductive biology of Angelica lucida. Each flower produces two small fruits, which are dispersed via gravity, wind and water.
Like many members of the carrot family (Apiaceae), this species contains furocoumarins, which cause photosensitivity and rashes in many people. The young stem can be peeled and eaten raw. The root is toxic, but was used by the Aleut, Yup'ik and Dena'ina to treat cuts, infections, pain or ill-health (Garibaldi 1999).
Angelica lucida is an amphi-Beringian species occurring on both coasts of North America and the southern coast of the Russian Far East. In Alaska, it occurs from the northwest coast through the Aleutians to Southeast. In the Park, the species grows on both sides of the Alaska Range in the hills and mountains, and is more common on the south side of the Range.
This species is primarily an alpine and subalpine (most frequent on 700-900 m and 900-1100 m) species. However, its full elevational range is 134 to 1533 m in the Park. This species prefers gentle and moderate slopes, and is not commonly found on inclines above 28 degrees.