Osmorhiza claytonii (Sweet Cicely)
|Also known as:||Clayton's Sweetroot|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; woods, thickets|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||1 to 3 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACU 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), in groups (umbellets) of 4 to 7 flowers each, at the top of the plant and the ends of branching stems. Individual flowers are about 1/8 inch across, with 5 notched white petals, 5 white-tipped stamens, and 2 styles that are shorter than the petals (the arrows in the thumbnail photo point them out). At the base of each umbellet are several narrow, hairy bracts that spread downward.
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 3 inches long and 2 inches wide, shallowly to deeply lobed with toothed edges, becoming smaller and less lobed as the ascend the stem.
Sweet Cicely and Aniseroot (Osmorhiza longistylis) are very similar and easily confused. Aniseroot has more flowers per umbellet (8 to 16), styles longer than the petals, has short-hairy or hairless stems, the leaves are less deeply divided, and the foliage has an anise fragrance when crushed. The hairiness of the stems is usually the most noticeable difference.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Pine and Ramsey counties. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?