Aralia nudicaulis L. - Wild Sarsaparilla


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Aralia nudicaulis - (image 1 of 6)



Family: Araliaceae


Moist woods. Calcareous woodlands and swamps.




Newfoundland west to British Columbia, south to IN, NE, and CO, and in mountains to GA.


Perennial to 50 cm. Leaves ternate from a long rhizome, divisions 3-5 pinnate; leaflets finely serrate. Dioecious; Flowers in 2-7 globular umbels (usually 3) on a peduncle arising from the rhizome; petals 5; stamens 5. Fruit berry-like, blackish.


Flowers May to July

Wetland Indicator: Facultative Upland

The root has been used to make tea and as a flavoring in root beer. Also as a substitute for the tropical plant Smilax regelii.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Peterson, L. A. 1977. A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America.

Houghton Mifflin Company. New York, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.




Michael Hough 2004