Sanicula marilandica

 

Botanical Name : Sanicula marilandica
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Sanicula
Species: S. marilandica
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Common Names:Maryland black snakeroot,Sanicle Sanicle. Black Snakeroot.

Habitat : Sanicula marilandica grows  in  North-eastern and Central N. America – Newfoundland to Alberta, Georgia and Colorado. Grows in rich woods, meadows and shores.

Description:
Sanicula marilandica is a perennial flowering plant.Its leaves with deeply incised lobes radiating out from the same point. Every leaf has no set number of leaflets, but commonly will have 5–7. The plant is not tall but the fruiting stalk will rise up to 2 feet, bearing green diminutive flowers in spring. In fall the fruiting stalk carries dehiscent fruit that splits, bearing small spines.
The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and requires well-drained soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

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Cultivation:
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in any moderately fertile well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade.   Strongly dislikes poor thin soils. Prefers a loamy or calcareous soil.

Propagation:
Seed – we have no information for this species but the following notes are for the related S. europaea. Stratification improves the germination rate. If possible sow the seed in the autumn, sow stored seed as early in the year as possible. It is best to sow the seed in situ in a woodland soil under trees If seed is in short supply it is probably wise to sow it in pots of woodland soil in a shady place in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a shady position in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer.

Medicinal Uses:
Considered a “cure all” by John Kloss “Although no mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of at least two other members of the genus contain saponins . Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fishbecause it possesses powerful cleansing and healing virtues, both internally and externally.”  It heals, stops bleeding, diminishes tumors.  The properties when administered seem to seek the ailment most in distress.  A tea made from the thick root has been used to treat menstrual irregularities, pain, kidney ailments, rheumatism and fevers. A decoction of the root has been used to cause vomiting in order to counteract a poison. It makes a useful gargle for treating sore mouths and throats. The powdered root has also been popularly used to treat intermittent fever and chorea (St. Vitus’ Dance). The root is also poulticed and applied to snakebites. Pharmacological studies reveal that black snakeroot contains some tannin, which causes an astringent action that may account for the use of snakeroot preparations as gargles for sore throat.  The action on the system resembles valerian

Known Hazards:
Although no mention has been seen for this species, the leaves of at least two other members of the genus contain saponins[179]. Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also destroyed by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanicula_marilandica
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

 

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