Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 4 plant ID/comparison guides:

collage of Canadian Blacksnakeroot and Clustered Blacksnakeroot

Canadian Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula canadensis) vs. Clustered Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula odorata)

Updated May 9th, 2022

The various Sanicula sp. are notoriously hard to identify. These two can sometimes be distinguished by whether they have 5 true leaflets or just an appearance of such. They are more reliably distinguished by differences in flower color and structure. Both species are common in much of their range and can be found in a variety of habitats, with much overlap; S. odorata ranges slightly farther into sunnier, more disturbed habitats, whereas S. canadensis is, on average, found in shadier habitats with more organic matter in the soil, and is more tolerant of sandy and acidic soils.

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collage of Canadian Blacksnakeroot and Largefruit Blacksnakeroot

Canadian Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula canadensis) vs. Largefruit Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula trifoliata)

Updated May 6th, 2022

Although all Sanicula pose an ID challenge, these two are particularly confusing as they have similar leaf shapes and inflorescences that look similar at a glance. They are easily distinguished by the pedicel length of staminate flowers, when present. The seeds are also relatively easy to distinguish. Plants may not be able to be identified by leaves alone, but habitat can offer a strong clue. Where their ranges overlap, S. canadensis is much more common and found in a wider range of habitats, including disturbed habitats, anthropogenic habitats, and forests in earlier successional stages, whereas S. trifoliatum is restricted to mature, undisturbed deciduous forests.

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collage of Canadian Blacksnakeroot and Maryland Sanicle

Canadian Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula canadensis) vs. Maryland Sanicle (Sanicula marilandica)

Updated May 6th, 2022

The members of the Sanicula genus are notoriously hard to distinguish. These two species have overlapping fruit sizes, and significant overlap in habitat, but are usually identifiable at a glance by the shape of their basal leaves and the structure of their inflorescence. It is harder to see but there is also a difference in whether or not the fruits are sessile. S. canadensis becomes more common and widespread farther south and prefers soils richer in organic matter, whereas S. marilandica prefers sloped terrain and rockier soils, especially limestone, and becomes more common farther north.

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The other guide is not yet completed and published.