Sanicula gregaria Bicknell - Black Snakeroot

Sanicula gregaria plant

Family - Apiaceae

Stems - From fibrous roots, forming large clumps, multiple from the base, erect, branching, herbaceous, glabrous, reddish-purple at the base, green apically, slightly scented.

Leaves - Basal leaves long petiole. Petioles to 15cm long, glabrous, colored as the stem. Blade palmately compound. Leaflets serrate, sessile, glabrous, +/-6cm long. Teeth of leaflet mucronate.Cauline leaves becoming sessile, palmate. The leaflets oblanceolate, divided near the apex, to 6cm long, +/-2cm broad, glabrous, toothed as the basal leaves.

Sanicula gregaria leaves

Inflorescence - Axillary bracteate globose umbellets, of staminate and perfect flowers. Rays to +2cm long in flower, glabrous. Umbellets directly subtended by a few minute bracts. +/-40 flowers per umbellet. Raylets of staminate flowers to -2mm long, glabrous. Perfect flowers mostly sessile.

Flowers - Staminate flowers - Petals green, glabrous, strongly inflexed, -1mm broad. Stamens 5, erect. Filaments greenish, glabrous, 2mm long. Anthers yellow, .7mm long. Calyx tube .5mm long, with 5 lobes, glabrous. Lobes acute, erect, .3mm long, glabrous. Perfect flowers - Petals as in staminate flowers. Stamens slightly longer than in staminate flowers. Styles 2, long and spreading to recurved, greenish-white, glabrous, -3mm long. Ovary with uncinate prickles. Sepals same as is staminate flowers.

Sanicula gregaria flowersFlowers.

Sanicula gregaria fruitsFruits. Arrows shows recurved styles.

Flowering - April - June.

Habitat - Rich open woods, thickets.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found throughout much of Missouri but is absent from a large section of the west-central portion of the state. The plant can be identified by its bristly fruits which have long styles. The styles of the fruits are longer than the bristles and slightly recurved, they DO NOT stand erect.

Photographs taken at Weston Bend State Park, Platte County, MO., 5-7-01, and at Big Spring Park, MO., 7-8-04.


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