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Sanicula europaea - L.

Common Name Wood Sanicle
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The leaves 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[K].
Habitats Woods, thickets and damp places, avoiding acid soils[4, 21, 31]. Often found in chalk beechwoods and oak woods on loamy soils[17].
Range Most of Europe, including Britain, to N. Africa, the Mediterranean, E. annd W. Asia, S. Africa.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Sanicula europaea Wood Sanicle


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Sanicula europaea Wood Sanicle
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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Sanicula europaea is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from July to September. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Bees, flies. The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves
Edible Uses:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. They contain saponins so should not be eaten in large quantities. A famine food, it is only used when all else fails[179].

References

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Alterative  Astringent  Carminative  Expectorant  Vulnerary

Wood sanicle used to be widely used as a herbal remedy and has a long-standing reputation for healing wounds and treating internal bleeding. The herb is traditionally thought to be detoxifying and has also been taken internally to treat skin problems[254]. A potentially valuable plant, but it is little used in modern herbalism[7, 254]. The leaves and the root are alterative, astringent, carminative, expectorant and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 13, 21, 46]. The leaves are harvested in early summer and the roots in mid to late summer, they can be dried for later use[4, 7]. The herb is highly esteemed in the treatment of blood disorders, where it is usually given in combination with other herbs[4]. It is also taken internally in the treatment of bleeding in the stomach and intestines, the coughing up of blood, nosebleeds, chest and lung complaints, dysentery, diarrhoea etc[4, 254]. It can also be used as a mouth gargle for sore throats[4]. Externally, it is applied to rashes, chilblains, inflammations etc[4, 7] and an ointment made from the plant is applied to haemorrhoids[7].

References

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Ground cover

References

Cultivation details

Succeeds in any moist moderately fertile well-drained soil in sun or semi-shade[4, 200]. Strongly dislikes poor thin soils[31]. Prefers a loamy or calcareous soil[9, 17]. The seeds are covered with little prickles, enabling them to become attached to anything that brushes against them and thus distributing the seed[4].

References

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

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.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Sanicula canadensisBlack SnakerootBiennial1.0 -  LMHSNM01 
Sanicula chinensisBian Dou CaiPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNM10 
Sanicula marylandicaMaryland SaniclePerennial1.2 -  LMHSNM02 
Sanicula rubriflora Perennial0.5 -  LMHSNM10 
Sanicula tuberculata Perennial0.2 -  LMHSNM10 
Sanicula tuberosaTurkey PeaPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNM20 

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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