Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Wild Licorice)

Plant Info
Also known as: American Licorice
Genus:Glycyrrhiza
Family:Fabaceae (Pea)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:native
Habitat:sun; average to moist soil; fields, prairies, railroads, roadsides, creekbanks, disturbed areas
Bloom season:June - July
Plant height:12 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.

Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: irregular Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Spike cluster, cone-shaped to cylindrical, 1 to 2 inches long arising from leaf axils. Flowers are white, cream, or pale yellow, about ½ inch long, pea-shaped with a long, erect upper petal. The cluster and its stalk are shorter than the subtending leaf.

Leaves: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: compound

[photo of leaves] Leaves are compound in groups of 11 to 19 leaflets. Leaflets are up to 1½ inches long and ½ wide, tapering to pointed or blunt tip, rounded or slightly tapered at the base, stalkless or nearly so, and often fold up some from the central vein especially when young. Edges are toothless, surfaces are hairless but gland-dotted, especially on the underside. Stems are erect, branched or not, weakly ridged, and typically gland-dotted.

Fruit: Fruit type: barbed Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Each flower is replaced by an oblong green pod, about ½ inch long, covered in hooked bristles and containing a few seeds. As the pods ripen the color changes to coppery brown, then dark brown. The pods remain through the winter.

Notes:

Wild Licorice may create small colonies from creeping rhizomes.

Please visit our sponsors

  • Wild Ones Twin Cities Chapter

Where to buy native seed and plants ↓

Map of native plant purveyors in the upper midwest

  • Landscape Alternatives - Distinctive Native Plants since 1986!
  • Shop for native seeds and plants at PrairieMoon.com!
  • Shooting Star Native Seeds - Native Prairie Grass and Wildflower Seeds
  • Morning Sky Greenery - Native Prairie Plants
  • Minnesota Native Landscapes - Your Ecological Problem Solvers

More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.

Comments

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

Posted by: Bill - NW Pennington county
on: 2014-03-30 09:19:52

The Wild Licorice grows all over my wood lot and many others in the area.

Posted by: Larry - Dodge County
on: 2015-08-05 11:47:57

I got photos of this plant in the Iron Horse Prairie Scientific and Natural Area. I had never seen it before. Joel at Rice Lake State Park and a local enthusiast, Merilee McNeilus helped me identify it.

Posted by: Merlin S - Ramsey County
on: 2018-07-04 14:47:16

I recently discovered this plant behind my house, growing next to native Jacob's Ladder and Solomon's Seal. I haven't seen it before, and I have no idea where this one came from. I'm a little concerned about it spreading by rhizome, since space in that area is limited, but I'll leave it for now.

Posted by: Norma Malinowski - Ely
on: 2018-07-11 13:15:34

Found several plants growing along the trail between the Winton Treatment Ponds and the Shagawa River in Ely, MN.

Posted by: Gary - Carlton County
on: 2020-01-15 12:34:53

This and Astragalus canadensis are growing along the Munger Trail in the area where Douglas Road and HWY 61 meet.

Post a comment

Note: All comments are moderated before posting to keep the riff-raff out. An email address is required, but will not be posted—it will only be used for information exchange between the 2 of us (if needed) and will never be given to a 3rd party without your express permission.

For info on subjects other than plant identification (gardening, invasive species control, edible plants, etc.), please check the links and invasive species pages for additional resources.



(required)




Note: Comments or information about plants outside of Minnesota and neighboring states may not be posted because Id like to keep the focus of this web site centered on Minnesota. Thanks for your understanding.