Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Wild Licorice)
|Also known as:||American Licorice|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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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 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.
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.
Wild Licorice may create small colonies from creeping rhizomes.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
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