Practical ecological knowledge for the temperate reader.

SANICULA - Sanicle

Family: APIACEAE (Umbelliferae)

Sanicula crassicaulis

Sanicula crassicaulis

Sanicula crassicaulis

"Biennial, perennial herb, rhizomed or tap- or tuberous-rooted, glabrous or minutely scabrous. Stem: generally spreading to erect. Leaf: blade oblong-ovate to obovate, entire to ternately, palmately, or pinnately lobed, dissected, or compound. Inflorescence: heads simple, in cymes or racemes, dense, of bisexual and staminate (staminate only) flowers; bracts entire or lobed, < to > heads; bisexual flowers pedicelled or not, staminate generally long-pedicelled. Flower: calyx lobes prominent, persistent, occasionally fused; petals wide, yellow, purple, or ± white (pale red-orange), tips narrowed, generally lobed; styles long or short; ovary tip projection 0. Fruit: oblong-ovate to round, ± compressed side-to-side; fruit-halves ± cylindric, prickly to scaly or tubercled; ribs 0; oil tubes evident or obscure, regularly or irregularly arranged; fruit central axis not obvious. Seed: face flat or grooved."
"± 40 species: temperate, ± worldwide. (Latin: to heal) [Bell 1954 Univ Calif Publ Bot 27:133–230]" [Jepson]

Local Species;

  1. Sanicula arctopoides - snake-root sanicle [E-flora][PCBC]
  2. Sanicula bipinnatifida - purple sanicle [E-flora][PCBC]
  3. Sanicula crassicaulis [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]
  4. Sanicula europaea - sanicle [E-flora]
  5. Sanicula graveolens - sierra sanicle [E-flora][PCBC][TSFTK]

Sanicula arctopoides - Snake-root sanicle

Sanicula bipinnatifida - Purple sanicle

Sanicula crassicaulis - Pacific sanicle

Sanicula europaea - European Sanicle

"Sanicula europaea is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft)."
"It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile."
"Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils."
"It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil."[PFAF]

Sanicula graveolens - Sierra sanicle


Food Use

Other Uses:

Medicinal Use


Activities S. europaea
  • Alterative (f; PNC); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiedemic (1; HH2; PHR; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiinflammatory (f; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Antiseptic (1; HH2; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Astringent (1; PH2; PNC); [HMH Duke]
  • Diuretic (f; MAD); [HMH Duke]
  • Expectorant (1; PHR; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Fungicide (1; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Vulnerary (f; PNC). [HMH Duke]
Select Indications S. europaea
  • Bronchosis (2; PHR; PH2);[HMH Duke]
  • Catarrh (2; KOM; MAD); [HMH Duke]
  • Cough (2; PHR; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Diarrhea (f; MAD; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Edema (1; HH2; PHR; PH2);[HMH Duke]
  • Pulmonosis (1; MAD; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Swelling (1; HH2; PHR; PH2); [HMH Duke]
  • Wound (f; MAD; PH2). [HMH Duke]



S. europaea; "Succeeds in any moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[4, 200]. Strongly dislikes poor thin soils[31]. Prefers a loamy or calcareous soil[9, 17]. The seeds are covered with little prickles, enabling them to become attached to anything that brushes against them and thus distributing the seed[4]." [PFAF]

S. europaea; "Stratification improves the germination rate. If possible sow the seed in the autumn, sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. It is best to sow the seed in situ in a woodland soil under trees If seed is in short supply it is probably wise to sow it in pots of woodland soil in a shady place in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer." [PFAF]

Other (non-local) Sanicula Species;

"Foster and Duke (1990) note that the leaves of S. canadensis contain allantoin as does S. europaea. That compound is apparently effective for treating bruises and inflammation (Hocking 1997). Presumably, that species and the others are likely to contain the chemicals known from the Old World plants. Sanicula europaea contains saponins, resins, and tannin-bitter substances (Hocking 1997)." [Daniel F. Austin]


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