wild sarsaparilla

Aralia Nudicaulis ~The Wild Ways of American Sarsaparilla

Aralia Nudicaulis ~The Wild Ways of American Sarsaparilla

Botanical NameAralia Nudicaulis. A member of the Araliaceae or Ginseng family

Status: Native to North American in boreal forests. It is found beneath hardwoods in rich soil.

Common names: Wild Sarsparilla, American Sarsparilla, Small Spikenard, False Sarsparilla, Wild Licorice, Rabbit Root

Description: A perennial that grows in the woods of the Northern United States and Canada. The leaf stalk grows up to 18” tall with compound leaves that branch out into 3 groups of 5 each. The flower is an umbel that comes up beneath the leaves in groups of 3. The leaves die back in the summer leaving the flowers to ripen into purplish black berries. The root is gathered although all parts of the plant can be used. The main root grows vertically down just a few inches but there are secondary runners that grow horizontally. New plants emerge from these underground rhizomes forming interconnected colonies. Gather in the Spring or Fall.