Porter's licorice-root, more...
[Ligusticum brevilobum Rydb.]
Photo ©Al Schneider, swcoloradowildflowers.com
Ligusticum porteri is an upper elevation herb which grows out of moist hillsides. It has compound umbels of small white flowers and terete, ridged fruits. The leaves are irregularly divided.
General: Perennial, 50-130 cm tall; stems 1 to several, stout, robust, glabrous to pubescent; plants bearing a taproot and fibrous root crown. Leaves: Basal and cauline, alternate, compound, ovate in outline, 9-30 cm long, 3-4 times ternate-pinnate with ultimate segments pinnately lobed or incised, 1.5-8 mm wide; petioles of the basal blades 8-32 cm long, cauline blades sessile or nearly so. Flowers: Inflorescence of several terminal and axillary compound umbels, rays 12-30, 3.5-12 cm long; phyllaries, if present, several, linear, 2 cm long, margins entire; pedicels 8-20 mm long, subtended by 3-5 linear bractlets, 15 mm long; petals white, 2-8.5 mm long; styles about 1 mm long; flowers June-August. Fruits: Schizocarp, oblong, cylindrical or slightly flattened laterally, 5-8 mm long, glabrous, ribs narrowly winged. Ecology: Streambanks, slopes in aspen or coniferous forests in rich, fertile soil; 1300-3500 m (4300-11500 ft); Apache, Coconino, and Yavapai counties; southwestern U.S. Notes: Refer to Conioselinum scopulorum for distinguishing characteristics between these two species. Our specimens, as here described, belong to var. porteri. Porter-s licoriceroot can be direct-seeded in the fall in upper elevation restoration projects. It also establishes from planted rhizomes with apical buds. It is a host plant for the anise swallowtail butterfly. An infusion of the root is used for body aches. Crushed or dried roots mixed with water or alcohol may be taken for sore throats, dry cough, and minor chest colds. Editor: Springer et al. 2008