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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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