GOLPAR, any of several perennial aromatic herbaceous plants of the genus Heracleum L. (fam. Umbelliferae) growing wild in humid alpine regions in Persia and some adjacent areas, particularly the following five species, the first four being restricted to Persia (see Mandenova, pp. 492-502, 505; Mozaffarian, 1996, no. 3857). Because the distinctive morphological characters of these species are ignored by the common people, the plants involved are usually designated by a single, generic name; for instance, besides Persian golpar, the most common name, we find Gilaki kolpar (Marʿaši, s.v.) or kulpar (Pāyanda, s.v.), Māzandarāni kūla/ek (Partovi, Teymurifar, Homāyun, s.v.; but, reportedly, halak in the Māzandarāni patois of Ammāma in Lavāsānāt area), Lori karso (private information), and Azeri Turk. bāldïrḡān (Jazāyeri, II, p. 172; Behzādi, s.v.), which seems to designate also another resinous umbellifer, namely, the asafetida plant.

Species. 1) H. Rechingeri Manden. (new species), endemic in some highlands in Gilān and Ṭāleš (Asālem, etc.) and in Tehran šahrestān (Šemšak etc.); 2) H. gorganicum Rech. f., endemic in Gorgān province and in Māzandarān; 3) H. nephrophyllum Leute (=Tetrataenium nephrophyllum Manden.), endemic in localities in Kurdistan and Luristan; 4) H. anisactis Boiss. and Hohen., endemic on southern slopes of Mount Damāvand and in Tehran šahrestān; 5) H. persicum Desf., sometimes inaccurately called in English “Persian marjoram” (e.g., Schlimmer, p. 312) or “Persian cow parsnip” (e.g., Mozaffarian, 1996, no. 3864), endemic in Persia and southeastern Anatolia; distribution in Persia: many places in Gorgān province, Māzandarān, Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, Lorestān, Baḵtiāri, Qazvin, Tehran šahrestān, Khorasan, and Yazd province (Mozaffarian, 1983, p. 134; Mandenova, p. 495).

Uses. The tender leaves and leaf stalks are pickled (golpar torši). In popular therapeutics, this torši is regarded as effective in “relieving stomachic thick humors, disinfecting the stomach, and curing poor appetite” (Jazāyeri, II, p. 174). Of wider use are the dried golpar fruits (aromatic, bitterish, very thin small seedpods) that are considered a “hot” carminative spice. As such, the powdered fruits are sprinkled on cooked broad beans (bāqelā, q.v.), cooked beans (lubiā), and potatoes, on pomegranate grains, and mixed with the vinegar into which lettuce leaves are dipped before eating (these vegetables are believed to be “cold” and flatulent). Whole dried fruits are usually added to the grains of esfand (q.v.) for fumigation, and, in the past, they were scattered on the shroud and in the coffin if the body was to be transferred to a remote cemetery (probably to offset the fetid odor of the decaying corpse).



Behzād Behzādi, Farhang-e āḏarbāyjāni-fārsi, Tehran, 1369 Š./1990.

Homādoḵt Homāyun, Guyeš-e aftari, Tehran, 1371 Š./1992.

Ḡiāṯ-al-Din Jazāyeri, Zabān-e ḵorākihā II: Farhang-e ḵorākihā, Tehran, 2nd repr., 1355 Š./1976.

I. Mandenova, “Heracleum,” in Karl Heinz Rechinger, ed., Umbelliferae, Flora Iranica 162, Graz, 1987, pp. 492-502, and p. 505 (for Tetrataenium nephrophyllum).

Aḥmad Marʿaši, Vāža-nāma-ye guyeš-e gilaki, ba enżemām-e eṣṭelāḥāt o żarb-al-maṯalhā-ye gilaki, Rašt, 1363 Š./1984.

Vali Allah Mozaffarian, The Family of Umbelliferae in Iran: Keys and Distribution, Tehran, 1983.

Idem, A Dictionary of Iranian Plant Names, Latin, English, Persian, Tehran, 1996.

Mahdi Partovi Āmoli, Farhang-e ʿawāmm-e Āmol, Tehran, 1358 Š./1980.

Maḥmud Pāyanda Langarudi, Farhang-e Gil o Daylam (fārsi ba gilaki), Tehran, 1366 Š./1987.

Johannes L. Schlimmer, Terminologie médico-pharmaceutique et anthropologique française-persan …, Tehran, 1330 Š./ 1951.

ʿA. Teymurifar, Guyeš-e damāvandi, Tehran, 1362 Š./1983.

(Hušang Aʿlam)

Originally Published: December 15, 2001

Last Updated: February 14, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XI, Fasc. 1, pp. 96-97