Cryptotaenia canadensis (Canadian Honewort)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Apiaceae (Carrot)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade; woods
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:1 to 3 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Stalked flowers in irregular flat clusters (umbels) 2 to 3 inches across, made up of 3 to 8 groups (umbellets) of 3 to 10 flowers each. Flowers are less than 1/8 inch across with 5 white petals that are usually curled up, and 5 stamens with creamy yellow tips. The flower stalks in an umbellet are varying lengths and there are no bracts at the base of an umbellet. A few clusters are at the top of the plant and at the end of branching stems in the upper plant.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound Leaf type: lobed

[photo of cleft leaves] Leaves are compound in groups of 3. Leaflets near the base of the plant are largest, to 4 inches long and 2 inches wide on long stalks, the base of the stalk broadening to a light green sheath. Leaves become smaller and shorter stalked as they ascend the plant, with those near the flowers stalkless or nearly so. Leaflets are double toothed, with small teeth on the edges of larger teeth, have pointed tips, and taper abruptly at the base. The larger leaflets are often cleft or lobed in 2 or 3 parts. Stems are branched, light green and hairless.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a 2-sectioned, ribbed seed, about ¼ inch long, pointed at the tip. It ripens from green to dark brown.


There are some similar species in the carrot family that grow in the woods at about the same time. Aniseroot (Osmorhiza longistylis) and Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii) both have larger flowers, distinct bracts at the base of an umbellet, hairy leaves and usually hairy stems. Honewort flowers typically stay curled up, has hairless double-toothed leaves, hairless stem, and no significant bracts at the base of an umbellet.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Chisago, Hennepin and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Alison - St. Paul, MN
on: 2010-07-07 16:26:22

This plant can be found at Lilydale Regional Park in Saint Paul, MN.

Posted by: luanne - minneapolis
on: 2012-05-23 11:52:31

This plant just appeared in a shady spot near my garage in the Mpls neighborhood of Linden Hills. Thank you birds!

Posted by: carole - Applewood Preserve, Maplewood MN.
on: 2015-06-14 00:43:22

Near west entrance in area previously dominatef by common buckthorn and wild parsnip!

Posted by: Thomas O Martin - Medina, just north of Long Lake
on: 2018-05-29 07:39:10

This seems to be an extremely aggressive seeder and it, and woodland nettle, are invading the maple/ash/basswood/hackberry woods that I cleared of buckthorn. Long, multifacted, dandelion like roots make it difficult to dig up. Taking over my shaded sedge meadow, among other wildflower areas.

Posted by: Jeff - Rochester
on: 2018-06-09 18:49:07

Growing under a walnut tree in back yard.

Posted by: Luciearl - Lake Shore
on: 2022-07-12 14:06:39

This plant appeared last year and now 10 times as much. It pulls up easily, but wonder if I have the correct ID because it is so prolific. It is blooming now, July.

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