Page author: David Giblin
Aralia nudicaulis
wild sarsaparilla

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in northeastern Washington; Yukon Territory to northeastern Washington, east to and south in Rocky Mountains, east to eastern North America.

Habitat: Moist, shaded soil.

Flowers: May-June

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Not of concern


Perennial from widely spreading rhizomes, the short, woody stems barely reaching the soil surface.


Leaves single, 3-5 dm. long, from a basal scale 1-2 cm. long at the top of the stem; petiole about equal to the ternate blade, which is again pinnate, the ultimate segments usually 5, ovate-oblong, serrate, 5-12 cm. long.


Inflorescence shorter than and arising with the leaves, consisting of 3-7 globose, paniculate umbels; pedicels slender, 5-10 mm. long; flowers perfect, 5-6 mm. long; sepals minute, on the inferior ovary; petals 5, greenish-white, 2.5 mm. long; stamens and pistils 5, distinct.


Berries dark purple, 6-8 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Aralia nudicaulis L.
Publication: Sp. Pl. 1: 274. 1753.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Aralia nudicaulis L. var. elongata Nash
Aralia nudicaulis L. var. prolifera Apgar
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Aralia nudicaulis in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Aralia nudicaulis checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Aralia nudicaulis atlas page.

CalPhotos: Aralia nudicaulis photos.

USDA Plants: Aralia nudicaulis information.

20 photographs:
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