Inclusion in Plant ID / Comparison Guides

This photo is featured in 2 plant ID/comparison guides:

collage of Canadian Blacksnakeroot and Small's Blacksnakeroot

Canadian Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula canadensis) vs. Small's Blacksnakeroot (Sanicula smallii)

Updated May 31st, 2022

Sanicula are notoriously hard to distinguish. These two species can be confused where their ranges overlap, as both tend to have 3 leaflets with similar shapes, tiny bright white flowers, and both can be found in deciduous forests as well as mixed pine-hardwood forests. They can be easily distinguished by differences in their inflorescence, and, especially during the growing season, by differences in leaf color and texture shape. S. canadensis is more likely on disturbed sites and ranges into slightly wetter and sunnier sites, whereas S. smallii prefers sites with richer leaf litter, and also ranges onto slightly drier and shadier sites.

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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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