The genus Osmorhiza Rafinesque

Remark The words or terms in red (actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a glossary.

jun_07_05.gthmb can't be loaded. Osmorhiza is a genus of North and South America as well as of eastern Asia; it was first recognized as a distinct genus by Rafinesque in 1818; plants of this genus are widespread perennial herbs with compound leaves. They are found in, in deciduous forest, in stands of Populus tremuloides (Quaking Aspen), in sunny and moist ravines, on road banks, and on the edges of riparian areas, but they are never found in standing water. They usually have a strong licorice or anise-like odor and flavor. Most species lack the characteristic taproot system typical of members of the Apiaceae family. But the roots are usually very sweet and can be used as a sweetener.

Sixteen species are found in North America; of these, only four are found in Québec:


In classical Greek οσμη (osmê) means odour, perfume and ριζα (riza) means root so that Osmorhiza would be a plant with a scented, perfumed root.


The fruits of plants of the Osmorhiza genus have small barbs allowing them to stick to clothing, fur, or feathers.