Aniseroot Identification – Osmorhiza longistylis

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This post is part of our “100 Plants and Mushrooms” series. Here, you’ll see the plant’s main parts – its leaves, flowers, fruits, and more – all with key identification features.

Aniseroot, scientifically known as Osmorhiza longistylis, belongs to the Apiaceae family, which is also called the carrot family, the Aniseroot is a perennial plant that holds a place of pride in North America’s native flora. Commonly, people might refer to this plant by other names, like the Long-style Sweetroot or the Smoother Sweet Cicely.

Aniseroot: Key Parts in Photos

Where to find it

How do you spot the Aniseroot? The plant favors cool, shaded spots. Look out for it in moist woodlands. You have a good chance of encountering this plant particularly during its bloom season, which spans May to June.

How to identify Aniseroot

Now, about the stem. Depending on the specific plant or its environment, you might find variations. Some stems are smooth; others might be covered in short, fine hairs. Typically, the base tends to be smoother, with the upper sections being hairier.

The Aniseroot’s leaves are alternately attached and are compound, generally branching out in groups of three. The ones towards the base of the plant are long-stalked while those higher up might be stalkless. These leaflets, as you might observe, are up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide. Their edges are toothed, and they exhibit shallow to deep lobes. And here’s a tip: the higher you look on the stem, the smaller and less lobed these leaflets become.

If you pluck a leaf, give it a little crush. The aromatic scent is a signature trait of the Aniseroot and can be a quick identifier.

Standing at a modest height of up to 3 feet, the Aniseroot does not tower over other plants, but its flowers might catch your attention. They’re arranged in flat clusters, known as umbels. Each cluster branches out to about five groups of up to 16 flowers. The flowers are small and possess five white, notched petals. The Aniseroot has narrow seeds, around an inch long. They are somewhat swollen towards the tip with hairs covering their surface.

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