Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

This native perennial plant is about 2' tall, branching occasionally. The stems are light green or reddish green and covered with long white hairs (in this variety of Aniseroot). The alternate leaves are ternately compound; the lower compound leaves are up to 1' long with long petioles, while the upper compound leaves are much smaller. Each compound leaf is divided into 3 compound leaflets; the terminal compound leaflet is the largest. Each compound leaflet is further divided into 3 leaflets; the terminal leaflet is the largest. Each leaflet is more or less shallowly cleft or coarsely crenate along its margins. In this variety of Aniseroot, there are scattered fine hairs across the upper surface of the foliage. Some of the upper stems terminate in compound umbels of white flowers. There are about 5 umbellets per compound umbel. An umbellet usually has 8-16 flowers and several linear-lanceolate bracts at its base. An umbellet is 1–2" across and its flowers are crowded together. Each tiny flower has 5 white petals that are notched at their tips, 5 white stamens, and a white slender stigma that is at least 2 mm. long (about as long or a little longer than the petals). The blooming period occurs during the late spring or very early summer and lasts about 2-3 weeks. The seeds are long, slender, 5-ribbed, and slightly bristly along the edges. The root system consists of a thick taproot with a strong anise scent.
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Comments

The typical variety of Aniseroot has hairless stems. This species closely resembles Osmorhiza claytonii (Sweet Cicely) and is often confused with it. However, Sweet Cicely has only 4-7 flowers per umbellet, while Aniseroot usually has 8-16 flowers per umbellet (less often 7). The styles in the flowers of Sweet Cicely are up to 1.5 mm (shorter than the petals), while the styles in the flowers of Aniseroot are at least 2.0 mm (as long or longer than the petals). Another difference between these two species is the appearance of the foliage
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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Range and Habitat in Illinois

Aniseroot occurs in most counties of central and northern Illinois, where it is occasional to locally common; in southern Illinois, it is often uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). This distribution map combines information for the two varieties of Aniseroot; the hairy variety, described here, is slightly less common than the typical variety. Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands on level ground and the slopes of ravines, particularly in Maple-Basswood woodlands.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Osmorhiza longistylis var. villicaulis Fernald:
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Osmorhiza longistylis var. brachycoma S.F. Blake:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Osmorhiza longistylis (Torr.) DC.:
Canada (North America)
United States (North America)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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Physical Description

Type Information

Holotype for Osmorhiza longistylis var. brachycoma S.F. Blake
Catalog Number: US 989634
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): S. F. Blake
Year Collected: 1918
Locality: Cabin John., Montgomery, Maryland, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Blake, S. F. 1923. Rhodora. 25: 110.
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Isotype for Osmorhiza longistylis var. villicaulis Fernald
Catalog Number: US 407082
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): A. A. Heller
Year Collected: 1901
Locality: Conostega, near Binkley's Bridge., Lancaster, Pennsylvania, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Fernald, M. L. 1908. Rhodora. 10: 52.
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Ecology

Habitat

Range and Habitat in Illinois

Aniseroot occurs in most counties of central and northern Illinois, where it is occasional to locally common; in southern Illinois, it is often uncommon or absent (see Distribution Map). This distribution map combines information for the two varieties of Aniseroot; the hairy variety, described here, is slightly less common than the typical variety. Habitats include mesic deciduous woodlands on level ground and the slopes of ravines, particularly in Maple-Basswood woodlands.
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Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Anise Root in Illinois

Osmorhiza longistylis (Anise Root)
(Short-tongued bees suck nectar or collect pollen, other insects suck nectar; one observation is from Krombein et al. as indicated below, otherwise all observations are from Robertson)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera; Apidae (Bombini): Bombus impatiens; Anthophoridae (Ceratinini): Ceratina calcarata; Anthophoridae (Nomadini): Nomada cuneatus, Nomada parva, Nomada sayi; Megachilidae (Osmiini): Osmia conjuncta, Osmia lignaria lignaria

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Agapostemon sericea sn cp, Agapostemon splendens sn, Augochlora purus purus sn, Augochlorella striata sn fq, Augochloropsis metallica metallica sn, Augochloropsis sumptuosa sn, Halictus confusus sn, Halictus rubicunda sn, Lasioglossum coriaceus sn cp, Lasioglossum forbesii sn cp, Lasioglossum imitatus sn cp, Lasioglossum macoupinensis sn cp fq, Lasioglossum obscurus sn cp, Lasioglossum pectoralis sn cp fq, Lasioglossum pilosus pilosus sn cp, Lasioglossum versatus sn cp; Halictidae (Sphecodini): Sphecodes ranunculi sn; Colletidae (Hylaeinae): Hylaeus affinis sn, Hylaeus illinoisensis sn, Hylaeus mesillae sn, Hylaeus modestus modestus sn fq, Hylaeus sparsa sn; Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena personata (Kr)

Wasps
Chrysididae: Chrysura pacifica; Gasteruptiidae: Gasteruption tarsatorius; Vespidae (Eumeninae): Ancistrocerus adiabatus, Eumenes fraterna

Flies
Syrphidae: Allograpta obliqua, Cheilosia hoodiana, Hiatomyia cyanescens fq, Paragus bicolor, Paragus tibialis, Pipiza femoralis, Rhingia nasica, Sphaerophoria contiqua, Sphegina campanulata, Sphegina rufiventris, Syritta pipiens fq, Syrphus ribesii, Toxomerus geminatus, Toxomerus marginatus; Bombyliidae: Aldrichia ehrmanii, Bombylius major; Empididae: Empis distans fq, Empis humilis, Empis loripedis; Conopidae: Myopa vesiculosa; Tachinidae: Gymnosoma fuliginosum, Siphona geniculata fq, Tachinomyia panaetius; Anthomyiidae: Botanophila inornata, Delia platura; Psilidae: Chyliza apicalis; Chloropidae: Siphonella oscinina

Butterflies
Pieridae: Colias philodice

Skippers
Hesperiidae: Erynnis martialis

Beetles
Chrysomelidae: Gibbobruchus mimus; Curculionidae: Idiostethus subcalvus, Idiostethus tubulatus; Mordellidae: Mordellistena scapularis; Pyrochroidae: Pedilus terminalis

Plant Bugs
Miridae: Lygus lineolaris

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Faunal Associations

The nectar of the flowers attracts short-tongued bees (Halictid bees primarily), Nomadine Cuckoo bees, and various flies; some of the short-tongued bees also collect pollen. Less common insect visitors to the flowers are wasps and beetles. The caterpillars of the butterfly Papilio polyxenes asturias (Black Swallowtail) feed on the foliage. The bristly seeds can cling to the fur of mammals and the feathers of birds; these animals help to disperse the seeds across considerable distances.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Osmorhiza longistylis

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Osmorhiza longistylis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 11
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Cultivation

The preference is light shade or dappled sunlight, moist to mesic conditions, and rich loamy soil. In a garden situation, it will probably thrive in a sheltered area underneath a tree.
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Wikipedia

Osmorhiza longistylis

Osmorhiza longistylis is a perennial herb of North America. It is known as aniseroot, longstyle sweetroot, American sweet cicely, licorice root, wild anise, or simply sweet cicely, a name that applies to other members of its genus Osmorhiza generally. It is a medicinal herb that was used by Native Americans. In use it should not be confused with species of poison hemlock, water hemlock, or baneberry.

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