The genus Osmorhiza Rafinesque
The words or terms in red
(actually dark orange) in the text are defined in a
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.
lack the characteristic taproot
system typical of members of the
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:
- Osmorhiza berteroi that does not have
bracts under the
umbellets of its
- Osmorhiza claytonii
(photography at right) that does have bracts under its umbellets;
- Osmorhiza depauperata that does not have
bracts under its umbellets;
- Osmorhiza longistylis that does have bracts under its umbellets.
In classical Greek οσμη
(osmê) means odour, perfume
(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.