Sarsaparilla – 5/17/20

Observer: Paul Lauenstein

Observation Date: 5/17/20

Observation Time: 10:10 a.m.

Observation Location: woods near Gavins Pond

Common Name: Sarsaparilla

Scientific Name: Aralia nudicaulis

Comments: On a whim, I decided to photograph a random plant along the trail in the woods. A friend helped me identify it, and it turned out to have a story!

Wild sarsaparilla is a 1-2 foot tall shrub common to the forest understories of southern New England. It produces tiny white flowers in spherical clusters beneath the compound leaves, which ripen into blue-black berries in mid-summer. The rhizome of wild sarsaparilla has a sweet, aromatic taste, and sometimes has substituted for sassafras in the making of home-made root beer.

More Information: Go Botany