Aralia racemosa L.

Aralia racemosa plant

Family - Araliaceae

Stems - Herbaceous, from a large taproot, to 20cm tall, erect, pubescent, green to purple.

Aralia racemosa stemStem.

Leaves - Ternately divided, purple at the nodes, petiolate. Petioles to +5cm long. Terminal leaflet with a longer petiolule than the lateral leaflets. Leaflets ovate, acuminate, serrate(sometimes double), oblique to cordate or truncate at the base, dull green and short pubescent above, silvery green and short pubescent(mostly on veins) below, to 20cm long, +/-13cm broad.

Inflorescence - Axillary thrysoid panicle of umbellets to +/-20cm long(tall), 6-7cm in diameter. Axis sparse pubescent. Some of the divisions of the inflorescence subtended by small linear bracts. Bracts to +/-3mm long. Umbellets with +/-10 flowers. Pedicels to 6mm long. Umbellets subtended by minute bracts to 2mm long.

Aralia racemosa inflorescenceInflorescence

Flowers - Petals 5, triangular, whitish, glabrous, 1.1mm long, spreading to recurved, to 1.5mm long. Stamens 5, alternating with the petals, erect. Filaments white, glabrous, 1.1mm long. Anthers whitish, .5mm long. Ovary 5-locular, inferior, ovule per locule. Styles very short, .5mm long, 5, joined at the base. Receptacle closed by an enlarged nectary. Hypanthium pubescent at the base but mostly glabrous, -1.3mm long, greenish-white. Sepals .1mm long, triangular. Drupes globose, glabrous, blackish, to 6mm in diameter.

Aralia racemosa flowersFlower close-up.

Flowering - June - August.

Habitat - Rich wooded slopes, ravines, moist ledges and bluffs.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This interesting species can be found in many parts of Missouri but seems to be absent from the Great Plains region. The plant grows wider than tall and is easily recognized while in flower.

Photographs taken at Greer Spring, Oregon County, MO., 7-8-01, and in Pictured Rocks National Seashore, MI., 7-25-02.