Transformational Gardening

Disclaimer: Foraging can be fun, rewarding and provide health benefits. As a novice forager, I will be sharing my foraging experiences. However, in order to be safe, always consult with local foraging experts and guidebooks before beginning foraging. Children should learn to forage safely by being guided by experienced adults. Never ingest anything unless you are certain of the identification and safety of the plant. Some plant species are inedible and some are poisonous.

Maryland Black Snakeroot (Maryland Sanicle) (Sanicula marilandica) (Synonym: Sanicula canadensis var. marilandica): Images

Date Location Notes Images
May 29, 2010 Southeastern, New Hampshire There are four Sanicula species in New Hampshire. I started a Sanicula Identification web page to help me differentiate between the four species. Maryland Black Snakeroot grows on a stout, 1-1/2 foot to 4 foot stem with leaves growing around the stem at intervals. Each leaf consists of 3-7 leaflets in a whorl. The leaflets have deep teeth and are double-toothed (look closely at the picture above on the right (near the start of the Maryland Black Snakeroot section), and you will see sets of “double-teeth” on the edge of the leaflets. The leaflets of the lower leaves tend to be somewhat lobed and toothed. The leaflets on the upper leaves are more lanceolate and unlobed.

As a member of the carrot family, the flowers grow as umbrel (all of the little flowers attached to the same spot on the flowering stem and all of the flowers individually stalked). One of the distinguishing characteristic of Maryland Black Snakeroot is the the styles (stalk of the pistils) are slightly curved and longer than the prickles of the ovary. The styles of most other Sanicula species are the same length or shorter than the prickles of the ovary. Click on and expand the picture up above on the left. If you look very closely, you will see numerous prickles with little hooks attached to the ovary. But you can also see a somewhat faint style stalk sticking out to the left that is longer than the prickles with hooks. Clustered Black Snakeroot (Sanicula odorata) has long styles as well, but the ovary has a short stalk and the sepals are shorter (only 0.5-1.0 mm long as opposed to 1-2 mm long).
Date Location Notes Images
June 1, 2010 Southeastern, New Hampshire Started Maryland Black Snakeroot tinctures today. I washed the leaves and roots yesterday and then let them dry for a day. It took about 10 plants to make 1-1/2 pints of tincture.
Date Location Notes Images
June 13, 2012 Southeastern, New Hampshire Key:
  • Styles much exceeding the bristles.
  • Sepals 1.0-2.0 mm, narrow-subulate.