Ammi majus, commonly called bishop's flower, false bishop's weed, laceflower, bullwort, etc., is a member of the carrot family Apiaceae. The plant, which has white lace-like flower clusters, has a large distribution through Southern Europe, North Africa and West and Central Asia, though it is hypothesized to be native to the Nile River Valley.

Ammi majus
Ammi majus Sturm8.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Ammi
A. majus
Binomial name
Ammi majus
Synonyms list
    • Aethusa ammi Spreng.
    • Ammi boeberi Hell. ex Hoffm.
    • Ammi broussonetii DC.
    • Ammi cicutifolium Willd. ex Schult.
    • Ammi elatum Salisb.
    • Ammi glaucifolium L.
    • Ammi intermedium DC.
    • Ammi pauciradiatum Hochst. ex A.Rich.
    • Ammi pumilum (Brot.) DC.
    • Anethum pinnatum Ruiz & Pav. ex Urban
    • Apium ammi Crantz nom. illeg.
    • Apium ammi-maius Crantz
    • Apium candollei M.Hiroe
    • Apium petraeum Crantz
    • Apium pumilum (Brot.) Calest. nom. illeg.
    • Carum majus (L.) Koso-Pol.
    • Cuminum aethiopicum Royle
    • Cuminum regium Royle
    • Daucus glaber Parsa nom. illeg.
    • Daucus parsae M.Hiroe
    • Selinum ammoides E.H.L. Krause
    • Sison pumilum Brot.


The plant[3] is called by various common names: bishop's flower[4][5][6] or bishop's weed[7] (false bishop's weed[8]);[a] laceflower,[9][5][6] lady's lace[5] or false Queen Anne's lace;[4][5][b] bullwort[10][5] (large bullwort);[4] white dill[6] and greater ammi.[11][12]

It is known in Arabic as hirz al-shayateen (حِرز الشياطين) or khella/khilla shaitani (خلة شیطانی).[4]

The plant is also introduced into China, where it is called da a min qin (Chinese: 大阿米芹) and cultivated in medicinal farms.[13][4]


Ammi majus is a herbaceous annual,[5][13] or rather a biennial that behaves like an annual in cultivation.[14]

The lower leaves are 1-2-pinnate, upper leaves 2(-3)-pinnate with serrate lobes.[10]

The inflorescence is compound umbel;[4] they are white umbrella-shaped flowers like those of Queen Anne's lace,[5] blooming June–July and fruiting July-August.[13]


Considered indigenous to Egypt,[15] or parts of Europe and the Middle East/West Asia.[5][4] It is also found scattered in the British Isles, in North and Central Scotland,[10] widely distributed in the Mediterranean region (including Southern Europe[10] and North Africa[4]), as well as West Africa and Abyssinia.[15]


In Egypt around 2000 BC, the juice of Ammi majus was rubbed on patches of vitiligo[16] after which patients were encouraged to lie in the sun.[17] In the 13th century, vitiligo was treated with a tincture of honey and the powdered seeds of a plant called "aatrillal," which was abundant in the Nile River Valley. The plant has since been identified as A. majus,[18] but the trade name Aatrillal is still used today to refer to the yellowish-brown powder made from its seeds.

Ammi majus contains significant amounts of furanocoumarins bergapten and xanthotoxin (also known as methoxsalen), two psoralen derivatives well known for their photosensitizing effects. Indeed, A. majus may well be the world's major source of methoxsalen.[17]

The practice of using Ammi majus to treat vitiligo implicitly acknowledges the hyperpigmentation effects caused by exposure to a photosensitizing agent (such as methoxsalen) followed by ultraviolet radiation. An excess of either the photosensitizing agent or subsequent UV exposure can lead to phytophotodermatitis,[17][19] a serious skin inflammation. Despite this danger, A. majus is cultivated for its furanocoumarins, which are still used for the treatment of skin disease, particularly the furanocoumarin xanthotoxin also known as "ammoidin" and by the brand name "Oxsoralen".[20][21]


Like its close relative Ammi visnaga, A. majus and its cultivars are frequently seen in gardens where they are grown from seed annually. The species[22] and the cultivar 'Graceland'[23] have both gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Explanatory notesEdit

  1. ^ "bishop's weed" being an ambiguous name that could be confused with Aegopodium podagraria.[5]
  2. ^ As opposed to the true "Queen Anne's lace" (Daucus carota).[5]


  1. ^ Schweizer, F. (2014). "Thymus capitellatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2014: e.T202922A2758033. Retrieved 31 March 2021.
  2. ^ The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species, retrieved 20 December 2015
  3. ^ "Ammi majus". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Quattrocchi, Umberto (2012), "Ammi majus", CRC World Dictionary of Medicinal and Poisonous Plants: Common Names, Scientific Names, Eponyms, Synonyms, and Etymology (5 Volume Set), CRC Press, p. 244, ISBN 978-1-4822-5064-0
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Walliser, Jessica (2014), "Ammi majus", Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control, Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, pp. 114–115, ISBN 9781604693881
  6. ^ a b c Tenenbaum, Frances (2003), "A. majus", Taylor's Encyclopedia of Garden Plants, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, p. 25, ISBN 9780618226443
  7. ^ Lazarides, M.; Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO Handbook of Economic Plants of Australia. apud GRIN
  8. ^ Erhardt, W. et al. (2002). Zander Handwörterbuch der Pflanzennamen: Dictionary of plants 17. Auflage apud GRIN
  9. ^ Hanelt, P., ed. (2001). Mansfeld's encyclopedia of agricultural and horticultural crops. Volumes 1-6. apud GRIN
  10. ^ a b c d Stace, Clive A. (1995) [1991]. New flora of the British Isles. 1st edition. Cambridge University Press. apud GRIN. 3rd edition (2010), p. 823
  11. ^ Rehm, S. (1994). Multilingual dictionary of agronomic plants. apud GRIN
  12. ^ Other common names listed are: crow's foot; devil's carrot; herb william; honey plant; mayweed.[4]
  13. ^ a b c She, Menglan 佘孟兰; Watson, Mark F. (2005). "43. AMMI Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 243. 1753." 阿米芹属 (PDF). Flora of China. Vol. 13. pp. 80–81.
  14. ^ Niir (2006), p. 266.
  15. ^ a b Niir (2006), p. 265.
  16. ^ Marshall, Scott R (2006). "Technology Insight: ECP for the treatment of GvHD—can we offer selective immune control without generalized immunosuppression?". Nature Clinical Practice Oncology. Nature Publishing. 3 (6): 302–314. doi:10.1038/ncponc0511. ISSN 1743-4254.
  17. ^ a b c McGovern, Thomas W; Barkley, Theodore M (2000). "Botanical Dermatology". The Electronic Textbook of Dermatology. Internet Dermatology Society. 37 (5). Section Phytophotodermatitis. doi:10.1046/j.1365-4362.1998.00385.x. PMID 9620476. S2CID 221810453. Retrieved October 7, 2018.
  18. ^ Wyss, P. (2000). "History of Photomedicine". In Wyss, P.; Tadir, Y.; Tromberg, B. J.; Haller, U. (eds.). Photomedicine in Gynecology and Reproduction. Basel: Karger. pp. 4–11. doi:10.1159/000062800. ISBN 3-8055-6905-X.
  19. ^ Alouani, I.; Fihmi, N.; Zizi, N.; Dikhaye, S. (2018). "Phytophotodermatitis following the use of Ammi Majus Linn (Bishop's weed) for vitiligo" (PDF). Our Dermatol. Online. 9 (1): 93–94. doi:10.7241/ourd.20181.29.
  20. ^ "Plants For A Future: Ammi majus".
  21. ^ Niir (2006), pp. 266–267.
  22. ^ "RHS Plantfinder – Ammi majus". Royal Horticultural Society. 2017. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  23. ^ "RHS Plantfinder – Ammi majus 'Graceland'". Royal Horticultural Society. 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2018.

Niir Board of Consultants and Engineers (2006), "Chapter 22: Cultivation of Ammi Majus Linn, in India", Cultivation and Processing of Selected Medicinal Plants: Small Scale Medicinal plants Processing Projects, Starting a Medicinal plants Processing Business, How to Start a Medicinal plants Production Business, Medicinal plants Based Small Scale Industries Projects, new small scale ideas in ..., Delhi: Asia Pacific Business Press Inc., pp. 265–270, ISBN 9788178330037

External linksEdit