[Snake Roots: The Genus Sanicula in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Sierra Sanicula, Sierra Sanicle, Northern Sanicle, Sierran Black-snakeroot, Western Snakeroot

Sanicula graveolens

Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis

Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis)

The photo above shows a close-up of the inflorescence of sierra snake root as seen on Dog Mountain, Columbia River Gorge.........May 7, 2014.

Leaf of Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis)The photo at right illustrates a lower stem leaf of Sierra snake root. Note the wide space between the lowermost and and second pair of leaflets. Coffin Mt. Trail, Willamette N.F.........June 13, 2001.
Characteristics:

Sierra snake root is a perennial wildflower with a single stem arising from a taproot. The stem is often branched near its base into several branches which may be further branched above. The stems range from 5-50 cm high. The leaves are alternate an all found on the stems, with the lower leaves well developed and petiolate. These often appear to come separately from the ground but are indeed attached to the main stem. The blades of the lower leaves range from 1.5-4 cm long and 2-3.5 cm wide and are ternately to pinnately compound with 3-7 or more leaflets. Each leaflet is further pinnatifid with the lowest pair of leaflets separate from the rest by an entire leaf rachis or vein. The upper leaves are sessile, reduced in size and tend to have fewer leaflets.

The inflorescence is a cluster of several umbels which are spaced closely together when in bloom. A series of 6-10 oblong-ovate to lance-linear bracts subtend each umbel cluster. The flowers are yellowish and each umbel measures roughly 1 cm in diameter. Individual umbels are 10-15 flowered. The fruits are ovoid-globose in shape and measure 3-5 mm long and 2-4 mm wide, with at least the upper surface covered with stout prickles which are hooked at their tips.

The leaves and flowers of western snake root would make a nice ground cover in a dryland open forest.


Habitat:

Sierra snake root may be found on open to lightly wooded slopes and flatlands from low elevation to moderate elevation in the mountains.


Range:

Sierra snake root may be found from southern British Columbia south to California and east to western Montana and northwestern Wyoming. It is also found in Chile and Argentina.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 200'-4200' from near Hamilton Mt. east to the Klickitat River.


Inflorescence of Sierra snake root: Sanicula graveolens

The photo above shows a close-up of the inflorescence of sierra snake root as seen at Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge........April 14, 2007. Note the large, leaf-like bracts at the base of the inflorescence.

Leaf of Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis)

The photo above shows a close-up of the pinnately compound basal leaf of sierra snake root as seen at Catherine Creek in the Columbia River Gorge..........April 14, 2007.

Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis) --- Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis)

Two views of western snake root as seen in oak tree litter from Catherine Creek, Columbia River Gorge...........April 9, 2009. Click each photo to see an enlarged view.

Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis) - Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis)

Western snake root beginning to bloom (left) in oak leaf on the west side of the Klickitat River about one mile south of Beeks Canyon, Klickitat Wildlife Area..........April 18, 2013. The photo at right shows western snake root blooming in Rowena Dell between The Dalles, and Memaloose in the Columbia River Gorge.......April 5, 2016.

Northern Sanicle, Sierra Sanicle, Sierra Snakeroot, Sierran Black-snakeroot: Sanicula graveolens (Synonyms: Sanicula apiifolia, Sanicula graveolens var. graveolens, Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis, Sanicula nevadensis, Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis, Sanicula septentrionalis)

Western snakeroot beginning to bloom under oaks along the Weldon Wagon Road about one mile east of Husum, WA........April 19, 2018.

Paul Slichter