Goldenseal - Hydrastis Canadensis • (Buttercup family - Ranunculaceae)

 

Goldenseal - Hydrastis Canadensis • (Buttercup family - Ranunculaceae) • Flower is ½ in. with no petals or sepals, but with many pistils and stamens. Leaves are rounded with 5 - 7 lobes and are sharply toothed with one opposite pair at summit and a single base leaf. The stem is hairy. 8 - 12 in. Rich woods. April - May.

In summer the pair of stem leaves is overshadowed by a long, stalked basal leaf that is 5 - 8 in. broad. The fruit, a cluster of red berries, is conspicuous. The plant arises from a bright yellow underground stem, which accounts for its other common name, Orangeroot.

 

Many Native American tribes extracted the yellow juice and used it as a dye, and some pounded the rootstock along with bear grease and rubbed it on their bodies as an insect repellent. Because of its popularity as a medicinal plant, it has disappeared from some areas and is on conservation lists.

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