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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Wild Sarsaparilla - Aralia nudicaulis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 5

External Links

General Description
Rhizomatous perennial, appearing acaulescent. Stems erect, short, barely above ground level. Herbage glabrous to puberulent. Leaves solitary; petiole 15–25 cm long; blade 15–25 cm long, twice divided, first into 3 then 3 to 5 parts; leaflets obovate to lanceolate or ovate, acuminate, 3–15 cm long, serrate, sometimes with asymmetrical bases. Inflorescence of usually 3 umbels; rays 2–7 cm long; the peduncle shorter than the leaf. Flowers greenish-white; sepals obsolete; petals 1–2 mm long, reflexed; stamens longer than petals. Drupes becoming dark purple, 4–8 mm wide (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range

Range Comments
BC to NL south to WA, CO, MO and GA (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 653

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)


  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Fernald, M.L. and A.C. Kinsey. 1958. Edible wild plants of eastern North America. Harper and Row. NY. NY.
    • Great Plains Flora Association (McGregor, R.L., coordinator, and T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, and E.K. Schofield - eds.). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press Kansas. 1392 pp.
    • Higman, Phyllis. Michigan Natural Features Inventory. Personal communication.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
    • McClain, William. Illinois Natural Heritage Database Program. Personal communication.
    • McGuffin, Michael. American Herbal Products Association, 8484 Georgia Ave., Suite 370, Silver Spring MD 20910. (301) 588-1171. Personal communication.
    • Niering, W. A. 1979. The Audubon Society field guide to North American wildflowers: Eastern region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. 887 pp.
    • Steinauer, Gerry. Nebraska Natural Heritage Program Botanist. Game and Parks Commission 2200 North 33rd Street P.O. Box 30370 Lincoln , NE , 68503 402-694-2498
    • Swink, F., and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region. Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.
    • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service. 1999. November 3-last update. The PLANTS Database.
    • Weber, William A. and Ronald C. Wittmann. 1996. Colorado Flora: Eastern Slope.
    • Weiner, M.A. 1980. Earth Medicine Earth Food. Ballantine Books, New York. 230 pp.
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Citation for data on this website:
Wild Sarsaparilla — Aralia nudicaulis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from