Family: Araliaceae Juss.
Aralia nudicaulis
Distribution: North American species, found from Yukon through most of Canada (absent in Labrador), with range reaching in US to Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia.
Ecology: Moist habitat, mostly in semi-shade to shade in forests, in rich, humus soil, up to elevations of 2500 m. Blooms in June and July.
Description: Perennial herb, flowering stem 20–40 cm tall, from thick rhizome. 1 basal leaf per plant, 30–60 cm tall, maturing after flowering, compound in 3 divisions, each with 3–5 leaflets, oval to oblong or elliptical, 5–9 cm long, 3–6 cm wide, margins toothed. Inflorescence is a globe-shaped umbel, 2–5 cm across, 2–7 (usually 3) per flowering stem; flowers greenish white, about 3 mm across, pentamerous. Fruit is berry-like drupe, purplish black, 4–6 mm.
Note: Wild Sarsaparilla is an ingredient of the original root beer. It also has medicinal properties. Aromatic root makes excellent tea.
Aralia nudicaulis
Aralia nudicaulis
Aralia nudicaulis
Aralia nudicaulis
Aralia nudicaulis
These images were taken in Canada, Alberta, Red Deer (June 2013), British Columbia, Burton (September 2013).