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Wasowski, Sally and Andy
Glycyrrhiza lepidota Pursh
American licorice, Wild licorice
Synonym(s): Glycyrrhiza glutinosa, Glycyrrhiza lepidota var. glutinosa
USDA Symbol: GLLE3
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Erect perennial up to 3 ft. The stem is covered with minute, sticky hairs. Cream flowers, which resemble those of alfalfa, are crowded on a terminal spike. Leaves are pinnately compound. The brown fruit is covered with hooked spines and resembes a cocklebur.
The root has a distinct licorice flavor, but commercial licorice is obtained from another plant of this genus that is not a North American native.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Leaf:
Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul
, WY Canada: AB
, SK Native Distribution:
W. Ont. to B.C., s. to n.w. MO,
n. AR, TX,
Mex. & CA Native Habitat:
Prairies; stream valleys; roadsides
Growing ConditionsWater Use: High
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Variable; often in heavy clay or saline soils.
BenefitUse Wildlife: Deer and pronghorn eat the foliage. Upland game birds and small mammals eat the seeds. Pocket gophers eat the rhozimes.
Use Medicinal: Tea of peeled dried roots or leaves used for diarrhea and upset stomach. Root chewed and held in mouth for toothache. Tea made of roots used for coughs, chest pain and sore throat. (Kindscher)
Root boiled in water to make tea drunk to speed delivery of placenta. Leaves steeped in water used for earache. (Weiner)
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Larval Host: Silver-spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus)
Seeds germinate but the rate is somewhat low and decreases with treatment. Rhizome
cuttings can be taken in spring or fall. Stem
cuttings require intermittent mist. Seed Collection:
Not Available Seed Treatment:
Do not pretreat. Commercially Avail:
Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)
is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
Native Seed Network
- Corvallis, OR
Record Last Modified: 2010-11-18
Research By: TWC Staff