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Common Black Snakeroot can be distinguished from other Sanicula spp. (Black Snakeroots) by its greenish yellow flowers. Other Black Snakeroots have greenish white flowers. The recurved styles of Common Black Snakeroot are longer than the prickles of the ovary, while other Black Snakeroots have more erect styles that are shorter or the same length as the prickles of their ovaries. The common name (Black Snakeroot) probably refers to the pioneer belief that the bitter roots were useful in treating snake bites, although this is highly doubtful. Another scientific name of Common Black Snakeroot is Sanicula gregaria, which resulted in the common name, 'Clustered Black Snakeroot.'

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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