Flora of Scotts Creek Watershed
Aralia californica - California Spikenard
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Family Name: Araliaceae
Common Names: California Spikenard, Elk's Clover, Prairie Sagewort, California Aralia
Origin: Native to California
Habitat: Moist shaded places, canyons, streamsides, where roots can reach flowing water. Below 2000 m.
Life Form and Duration: Perennial Shrub or small tree, 1-3 m
Comments on overall growth: Stem erect, branched, fleshy. May be considered a large herb since the stems do not become woody. Grows from large roots, with milky juice, very full with large leaves.
Foliage Type: Deciduous
Foliage Description: Large leaves, whole is 1-2 m long with petiole up to 30 cm long. 2 times pinnately compound with 3-5 leaflets per division. Leaflets 15-30 cm long, oblong to ovate, margin toothed, hairless, base sub-cordate.
Infloresence Description: Spreading panicle of umbels, 30-50 cm long. Umbels round in form, ball-like, made up of numerous flowers.
Flower Description: Flowers small, white, 5 petaled, petals 2-3 mm long.
Flowering Season: June-August
Fruit Type: Berry
Fruit Description: Dark purple to black, 3-5 mm diameter, with 3-5 seeds.