Osmorhiza longistylis (Aniseroot)
|Also known as:||Long-style Sweetroot, Smoother Sweet Cicely|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist woods|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||2 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in flat clusters (umbels) 2 to 3 inches across at the top of the plant and the ends of branching stems. A cluster is made up of about 5 groups (umbellets) of 8 to 16 flowers each. Flowers are 1/8 inch across, with 5 white notched petals, 5 white-tipped stamens, and 2 white styles that are longer than the petals. At the base of each umbellet are several narrow, spreading, hairy bracts.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are 1 or 2 times compound in 3's. Basal and lower stem leaves are long stalked, becoming short stalked to stalkless as they ascend the stem. At the base of the stalk is a short appendage that sheathes the stem. Leaflets are up to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide, shallowly to deeply lobed with toothed edges, becoming smaller and less lobed as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are smooth to sparsely hairy, especially along the veins on the underside.
Aniseroot is very similar to Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii) and the 2 are easily confused. Sweet Cicely has styles that are shorter than the petals, fewer flowers per umbellet (4 to 7), stems densely covered in long, spreading hairs up into the flower clusters, and the crushed foliage does not have a distinct anise fragrance. The hairy stems are the most noticeable difference.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
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