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Aralia nudicaulis L.
USDA Symbol: arnu2
A single leaf stalk grows 18-24, dividing into three parts each with five oval leaflets. A separate stalk, shorter than the leaf stalk, bears ball-shaped clusters of tiny, greenish-white flowers followed in fall by dark purple berries. The leafless flower stem, topped with clusters of greenish-white flowers, is beneath a large, umbrella-like leaf. Often grows in colonies from extensive rootstock. The species name, from the Latin nudus (naked) and cauli (stalk), refers to the leafless flowerstalk.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Subshrub Root Type: Tap Leaf Complexity: Pinnate Breeding System:
Flowers Bisexual Leaf:
Dark Green Flower:
Flowers 1.5-2 in.
Black, Purple Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: White , Green , Brown
Bloom Time: May , Jun
, WY Canada: AB
, YT Native Distribution:
Transcontinental Canada, s. to GA
mts., OH, IL, MN, SD
& n.w. MT Native Habitat:
dry to moist woods
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Poorer, relatively dry, soils.
Conditions Comments: Can become aggressive. Rootstock is used as a substitute for official sarsaparilla flavoring.
is aromatic and was used as emergency food by First Nations People (Clough). The root was used to make root beer and can be made into a tea. The aromatic rhizomes of this plant are used as a substitute for sarsaparilla. Conspicuous Flowers:
Divide the creeping rootstock while the plant is dormant. Sarsaparilla can be grown from seed sown when ripe, but seedlings mature slowly. Seed Collection:
Seeds can be recovered fro the fruit
by maceration and flotation. Seed Treatment:
Seeds may require cool-moist stratification. Commercially Avail:
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:
- Johnstown, PAMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Record Last Modified: 2012-11-26
Research By: TWC Staff