Wild Sarsaparilla

Wild Sarsaparilla
Aralia nudicaulis

Wild Sarsaparilla enjoy the shade of a softwood/conifer forest, or even a mixed forest.  They are considered to have one leaf that divides into three groups of 5 leaflets.  One of these 3 groups can be seen circled in the photo above.  Not that one leaflet is terminal, and the other four occur in pairs opposite to each other.  The globe-shaped flowers are on a stalk that divides into three.  The underground rhizomes of the Wild Sarsaparilla are aromatic and have been used for making root beer and tea.

Family: Ginseng Family
Flowers: 3 Globe-shaped white flower clusters
Fruit: Black Berries that do not taste pleasant.
Bloom: June (1) – This particular plant was finished blooming on July 2nd.  Other sources say it can bloom from May-July (2).
Size: up to 60 cm (1); 12″ seems to be common
Leaflets: serrated/toothed, ovate(2)

This Wild Sarsaparilla was found near the entrance of a trail through a coastal softwood forest at Fundy National Park, New Brunswick, Canada.

1. Burzynski, M., Haworth, A. (1988). Forest Plants of the Fundy Coast. New Brunswick, Canada: The Fundy Guild Inc.

2. Alden, P., Cassie, B. (1998). National Audubon Society Field Guide to New England. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, inc..

3. Reader’s Digest (1982). North American Wildlife. Pleasantville, N.Y.: Reader’s Digest Association


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