Wild Sarsaparilla – 10/2/13

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 10/2/13

Observation Time: 12:15 p.m.

Observation Location: woods near Beaver Brook

Common Name: Wild Sarsaparilla

Scientific Name: Aralia nudicaulis

Comments: You might know Sarsaparilla as a sweet soft drink that was first introduced in the 19th century.  Wild sarsaparilla is a common plant found in the northern and eastern parts of  North America and grows on creeping underground stems.  This plant was used as food when hunting or during wars because it was so sustaining.  Wild sarsaparilla had a much wider use among native people because of its many medicinal purposes that treated everything from sores to toothaches.

While going through old photos on my computer, I came across this photo of yellow leaves. I opened an app on my cell phone called Seek by iNaturalist and pointed the phone at my computer monitor. The app immediately identified the leaves as wild sarsaparilla.

More Information: Stories from the Wigwam