Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Sanicula arctopoides
footsteps-of-spring, bear's-foot sanicle

Distribution: Occurring west of the Cascades crest along the coast in Washington; Vancouver Island, B.C. south along the coast to California.

Habitat: Maritime species of coastal bluffs, meadows, and balds.

Flowers: March-May

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Endangered in Washington (WANHP)


Taprooted perennial, the stem much branched at the base into prostrate or ascending branches 5-30 cm. long.


Leaves mostly basal, rosette-forming, somewhat yellowish, broadly petioled, the blade 2.5-6. cm. long and 2.5-9 cm. wide, 3-cleft, the primary segments toothed or cleft, the terminal larger than the lateral, which angle forward; cauline leaves few and reduced, opposite and each subtending a branch.


Inflorescence of several head-like, ultimate umbels terminating the branches, yellow, about 1 cm. wide when flowering; umbels subtended by a prominent involucre of 8-17 oblanceolate, entire or tri-lobed bracts 5-15 mm. long; ultimate umbels 20- to 25-flowered, with about equal numbers of perfect and staminate flowers; calyx lobes ovate, acute, soft, 1-2 mm. long, attached to each other below the middle.


Fruit ovoid to sub-globose, 2-5 mm. long and 2-3 mm. wide, covered above with stout, recurved prickles.

Accepted Name:
Sanicula arctopoides Hook. & Arn.
Publication: Bot. Beechey Voy. 141. 1832.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Sanicula crassicaulis Poepp. ex DC. var. howellii (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Mathias
Sanicula ×howellii (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Shan & Constance
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Sanicula arctopoides in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Sanicula arctopoides checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Sanicula arctopoides atlas page.

CalPhotos: Sanicula arctopoides photos.

USDA Plants: Sanicula arctopoides information.

32 photographs:
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