Aralia racemosa L. - Spikenard


 

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Aralia racemosa - (image 1 of 5)

 

Taxonomy

Family: Araliaceae

Habitat

Rich woods, in rocky ravines or in dense shade on north-facing slopes. Calcareous swamps.

Associates

Acer saccharum, Actaea pachypoda, Caulophyllum thalictroides, Panax quinquefolius.

Distribution

Quebec and New Brunswick west to MN and SD, south to NC and northern Mexico.

Morphology

Robust perennial herb or subshrub to 2 m. Leaves cauline, wide-spreading to 80 cm, pinnately compound; leaflets ovate, acuminate, doubly serrate. Flowers greenish-white, in long, paniculate racemes bearing 12 or more umbels. Fruit dark purple.

Notes

Flowers July to August

Wetland Indicator: Upland

The root has been used to make tea and as a flavoring in root beer. One of the largest herbaceous plants found in the Northeastern U.S.

References

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.

 


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Michael Hough 2004