Sanicula europaea

Again, Taisha is the author of today’s entry:

Today’s plant photographs are of Sanicula europaea, with the first photograph by Stephen Buchan (aka — Green Light Images —@Flickr) and the second photograph by beranekp@Flickr. Both were submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool. Thank you!

Sanicula europaea, or wood sanicle, is a member of the Apiaceae and can be found throughout most of Europe and southwestern Asia growing in shaded and damp wooded habitats.

This perennial herbaceous species reproduces vegetatively by rhizome cleavages (for extremely local dispersal), but it also has hooked seeds permitting long-distance dispersal through attachment to animal fur (see: Gustafsson, C. & J. Ehrlén. 2003. Effects of intraspecific and interspecific density on the demography of a perennial herb, Sanicula europaea. Oikos. 100: 317-324). Sanicula europaea is an evergreen that reaches 20-60cm in height. The basal leaves are long and petiolate, and bear teeth ending in a short stiff hair or bristle. Inflorescences of this species are considered to be false umbels, taking as long as 16 years to appear in mature plants.

Sanicula europaea has been used as a traditional medicine for treating dermatological, gastrointestinal and respiratory diseases. Air-dried leaves of Sanicula europaea have also been studied by Karagöz et al. for their apparent ability to inhibit Human Parainfluenza Virus (type 2), but the mechanisms of inhibition are yet to be determined (see: Karagöz A. et al. 1999. Antiviral activity of Sanicula europaea L. Extracts on multiplication of Human Parainfluenza Virus Type 2. Phytotherapy Research. 13: 436-438.

Sanicula europaea
Sanicula europaea

5 responses to “Sanicula europaea”

  1. Connie Hoge

    Two really really good photos, of a really pretty plant. I have never heard of it before but now I think I would like to try to grow some. I am working on a “forest floor” garden, replacing my front lawn in Maryland. I wonder where I might find some seed, and whether it would be invasive here.

  2. Dori

    Yes, it could be invasive in Maryland, Not a good idea to plant exotics. There are plently natives just as attractive for a woodland garden.

  3. Pygge Lord

    I love this pretty plant. It’s wild, but very rare in my part of Sweden and every time I find it, it makes me happy. I usually find it in shaded woodland areas (together with plants like Pulmonaria and other rare plants like it) and it’s white colour really sparkles in the dark. A gem!!!
    I find it hard to believe that it could be invasive anywhere, but that’s the thing with moving a plant from one part of the world to another. You just never know. Here it certainly is not, anyway. I have a few plants in my garden too and they are ‘staying’ nicely where they are supposed to be, even though they are more than allowed to ‘invade’ a bit more.

  4. dori

    Yes it is likely to be invasive in Maryland. There are many lovely native plants for a shady woodland. It is not a good idea to plant exotics. They either die or invade.

  5. Stephen J. Danko

    You can obtain seeds of Sanicula europaea from Horizon Herbs in Oregon .
    Wood sannicle is not listed as an invasive species by the United States Department of Agriculture and is not on the list of Invasive Species of Concern in Maryland .
    Stephen J. Danko

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