Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Clustered Black-snakeroot + - Sanicula odorata   (Rafinesque) K. Pryer & L. Philippe
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Section 6 » Order Apiales » Family Apiaceae
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Author(Rafinesque) K. Pryer & L. Philippe
DistributionThroughout the Mountains and Piedmont; present over much of the middle and upper Coastal Plain, but absent from the far eastern portions and probably other counties in that province.

This is a widespread species across the Eastern states, ranging from eastern Canada south to western FL and eastern TX.
AbundanceFrequent in the Mountains; infrequent to locally fairly common in the Piedmont; rare to uncommon in the western and central Coastal Plain, more frequent in the southern counties; absent from parts of the eastern and central Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a species that shows a preference for high pH soil in forests. It grows in cove forests, Basic Mesic Forests, rich bottomland forests, and other deciduous forests in rich soil. It seldom is seen along wooded borders.
PhenologyBlooms from May to June, and fruits in June and July.
IdentificationThis is a medium-height species, growing to about 1.5' tall, with some branches. It has basal and alternate stem leaves of similar shape -- palmately divided into 5 leaflets, quite strongly serrated, and a bright green to yellow green in color, not as dark green as in other species, nor with the thick leaves as found in S. smallii. Each leaflet is oblanceolate to obovate, about 2-3" long and about 1" wide. As with others in the genus, the tiny umbels are raised high above the leaves on long stalks. However, this is the only one of the five species with yellow flowers; others have white to greenish, even though petals are very small. This species and S. marilandica are the only ones with the styles extending beyond the bristles in the rounded fruit, but in this species the bristles do not have swollen bases, and the bristles are arranged in rows, as opposed to randomly scattered in the other species. Usually you can find at least a few yellow flowers on the umbels when you spot a plant, and that alone rules out other species. Also note that S. marilandica usually has 7 leaflets, or if 5, the outer ones are strongly cleft as to come close to 7 leaflets.
Taxonomic CommentsThis species has or had long been named as Sanicula gregaria.

Other Common Name(s)Clustered Sanicle, Common Black-snakeroot
State RankS4? [S4S5]
Global RankG5
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