Ligusticum canadense (L.) Britton



CC = 8
CW = 0
MOC = 21

© SRTurner

Family - Apiaceae

Habit - Perennial forb with expanded, fibrous base and taproot.

Stem - Ascending to erect, to 1.5 m, glabrous.

Ligusticum_canadense_stem.jpg Stem and node.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate and sometimes also basal (1 or more usually present at flowering), glabrous, short- to long-petiolate, the sheathing bases not or only slightly inflated. Leaf blades 10-24 cm long, ovate to triangular-ovate in outline, the basal and lower stem leaves ternately (less commonly ternately then pinnately) 3 or 4 times compound, the upper leaves reduced and occasionally simple, the leaflets 25-120 mm long, lanceolate to ovate, occasionally with 1 or 2 basal lobes, narrowed or tapered at the base, tapered to a sharp point at the tip, finely to more coarsely toothed along the margins

Ligusticum_canadense_leaf.jpg Leaf.

© SRTurner

Ligusticum_canadense_leaflet1.jpg Leaflet adaxial.

© SRTurner

Ligusticum_canadense_leaflet2.jpg Leaflet abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescence - Terminal and often also axillary, mostly compound umbels, long-stalked, the stalks glabrous or sparsely hairy. Involucre absent. Rays 6- 14, unequal in length, 2-5 cm long, glabrous or less commonly sparsely hairy. Involucel of 2-5 entire bractlets, these shorter than the flower stalks, linear or narrowly oblong, glabrous. Flowers 6-14 in each umbellet, the stalks 2-4 mm long.

Ligusticum_canadense_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© SRTurner

Ligusticum_canadense_involucel.jpg Umbellet and involucel.

© SRTurner

Florets - Sepals minute triangular teeth. Petals obovate, rounded or bluntly pointed at the tip, white. Ovaries glabrous.

Ligusticum_canadense_florets.jpg Florets.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Schizocarps 4-7 mm long, ovate-elliptic in outline, rounded at the base, slightly flattened laterally, glabrous, dark brown with usually lighter ribs, each mericarp with 5 narrowly winged ribs.

Ligusticum_canadense_fruits1.jpg Immature fruits.

© SRTurner

Ligusticum_canadense_fruits2.jpg Maturing fruits.

© SRTurner

Flowering - May - July.

Habitat - Forests, savannas, bluffs, streambanks.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Several other members of the Apiaceae, including species of Angelica, Levisticum, Perideridia, Cicuta, and others.

Other info. - In Missouri, this plant is mostly confined to the southern third of the state. Its distribution within the continental U.S. is east-central. The plant likes virgin mesic woodlands and is relatively intolerant of disturbance.

Plants known as "lovage" have been used as herbs and also for medicinal purposes. However, plants in this family should never be consumed if there is any doubt whatsoever about their identity, since some family members are lethally poisonous. Clues to this plant's identity are its lack of hairs on both herbage and fruits, its white flowers, and broad leaflets with veins ending at the tips of the teeth.

Photographs taken at Taum Sauk State Park, Iron County, MO, 7-23-2018, at Poison Hollow, Howell County, MO, 5-14-2019, and at Carman Springs Natural Area, Howell County, MO, 5-14-2019 (SRTurner).