Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Canadian Black-snakeroot - Sanicula canadensis   L.
Members of Apiaceae:
Members of Sanicula with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Apiaceae
DistributionEssentially statewide, lacking specimen records for only eight counties.

This is a very widespread species in the East and Midwest, occurring in most counties from New England and SD south to central FL to central TX.
AbundanceCommon essentially statewide, but just fairly common in much of the central and eastern Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a widespread species of various types of forests and woodlands, generally in mesic situations. It also occurs along wooded borders, but usually is found in full shade to mostly in shade.
PhenologyBlooms in April and May, and fruits from June to July.
IdentificationThis species grows to about 1.5 feet tall, with a number of branches from the upper portion. It has both basal and stem leaves, each with 5 palmate leaflets, the outer 2 generally smaller than the others. The middle 3 leaflets are about 2 inches long and 2/3-inch wide, strongly serrated. The leaves are thin, as opposed to the thick leaves in S. smallii. In this genus, the flowers are in very small umbels on quite long stalks, raised many inches above the leaves. The petals are very small and white to greenish, of little significance. The more noticeable seeds in this genus are bristly and can stick to clothing. Several species (of the five in NC) have styles shorter than the bristles of the fruit, including this one; it has the fruit on a short stalk and rather globose (rounded). Thus, to identify this genus of plants, check the seeds, as this species often has solitary seeds, on a short stalk, rounded in shape, without an obvious style sticking out beyond the bristles. It is, by far, the most common Sanicula downstate.
Taxonomic CommentsWeakley (2018) lists three varieties in the state -- var. canadensis (common in the mountains and Piedmont), var. floridana (in the Coastal Plain), and var. grandis (scarce in the western half of the state).

Other Common Name(s)Canada Sanicle, Black Snakeroot
State RankS5
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empUPL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
BA Sorriesame data DareBIUPhoto_natural
BA SorrieNags Head Woods, Sept 2022, plant turning to fall color. DareBIUPhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieMesic woods near Threemile River, June 2010. UnionPhoto_natural
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