South Dakota Native Plant Research
Aralia nudicaulis

Aralia nudicaulis

R. Neil Reese, South Dakota State University

American Indians used root extrcts for a variety of purposes, including as a tonic, stimulant, diuretic, and in the treatment of scurvy.


Aralia nudicaulis is a(n) perennial herb, which grows O.4 m to 0.5m in height. This species is commonly found in low to mid elevations of the central and northern Black Hills and Bear Lodge Mts. In moist understory of coniferous forests and deciduous woodlands. The leaves are usually solitary, erect, and ternately compounded with each divison 3-5 foliate. Aralia nudicaulis has greenish to white with 5-petaled flowers that bloom from June to July.Additional Notes: The aromatic rootstock of wild sarsaparilla has been used as a substiture for the true sarsaparilla, a tropical plant, in the flavoring of root beer and teas. This plant has no known value to grasing animals, although the fuits are undoubtedly taken by birds.