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Osmorhiza purpurea

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Annual to perennial herb [shrub, tree], generally from taproot. Stem: generally +- scapose, generally ribbed, hollow. Leaf: basal and generally cauline, generally alternate; stipules generally 0; petiole base generally sheathing stem; blade generally much dissected, occasionally compound. Inflorescence: umbel or head, simple or compound, generally peduncled; bracts present in involucres or 0; bractlets generally present in "involucels". Flower: many, small, generally bisexual (or some staminate), generally radial (or outer bilateral); calyx 0 or lobes 5, small; petals 5, free, generally ovate or spoon-shaped, generally incurved at tips, generally +- ephemeral; stamens 5; pistil 1, ovary inferior, 2-chambered, generally with a +- conic, persistent projection or platform at tip subtending 2 free styles. Fruit: 2 dry, 1-seeded halves (= mericarps), separating from each other but generally +- persistent to central axis; ribs on halves 5, 2 marginal, 3 to back; oil tubes 1--several per interval between ribs.
Genera In Family: 300 genera, 3000 species: +- worldwide, especially temperate; many cultivated for food or spice (e.g., Carum, caraway; Daucus; Petroselinum); Bupleurum lancifolium Hornem. is historical garden weed; some toxic (e.g., Conium). Note: Mature fruit generally critical in identification, shape given in outline. Hydrocotyle moved to Araliaceae. Petroselinum crispum (Mill.) A.W. Hill is a waif.
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: OsmorhizaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Perennial herb, +- glabrous to hairy; roots thick, clustered, licorice-scented. Stem: branched, leafy. Leaf: blade oblong to triangular-ovate, 2-pinnate or ternate-pinnate or 2--3-ternate, leaflets lanceolate to round. Inflorescence: umbels compound; bracts 0; bractlets 0--several, conspicuous; rays, pedicels few, spreading-ascending to spreading. Flower: calyx lobes 0; petals obovate, white, purple, or +- green-yellow (+- green-white), tips narrowed; disk occasionally present. Fruit: linear to oblong, cylindric to club-shaped, +- compressed side-to-side, bristly to glabrous; base obtuse or long-tapered into tail, tip tapered into beak or obtuse; ribs thread-like; oil tubes obscure; fruit axis divided in distal 1/2. Seed: face concave or grooved.
Species In Genus: +- 10 species: America, eastern and southern Asia. Etymology: (Greek: sweet root)

Osmorhiza purpurea (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Suksd.
Habit: Plant 2--6 dm, glabrous to sparsely fine-hairy. Leaf: petiole 5--12 cm; blade 3--10 cm wide, triangular-ovate to round, 2--3-ternate, leaflets 1.5--7 cm, lanceolate to ovate, coarsely serrate to irregularly cut or lobed. Inflorescence: peduncle 3--10 cm; bractlets 0; rays 2--6, 3--9.5 cm, spreading-ascending; pedicels 5--25 mm. Flower: corolla purple (+- green-white); styles 0.4--0.8 mm; ovary tip projection depressed-conic; disk conspicuous. Fruit: 8--15 mm, linear-fusiform; tail 1--5 mm; tip narrowed proximal to beak; ribs bristly at base. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Damp conifer forest; Elevation: 150--2200 m. Bioregional Distribution: NCo (Del Norte Co.); Distribution Outside California: to Alaska, Montana. Flowering Time: Jun--Jul
eFlora Treatment Author: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax
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Citation for this treatment: Lincoln Constance & Margriet Wetherwax 2016. Osmorhiza purpurea, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 25, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 25, 2016.

Osmorhiza purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2013 Steve Matson
Osmorhiza purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2013 Steve Matson
Osmorhiza purpurea
click for enlargement
© 2013 Steve Matson

More photos of Osmorhiza purpurea in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Osmorhiza purpurea:
NCo (Del Norte Co.);
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.