General: Deciduous perennial herb from a slender rhizome, spreading; aerial stems absent but single leaves are sent up along the rhizome.
Leaves: Basal, palmately compound with 3 leaflets, blades fan-shaped, 3-9 lobed, deciduous, with a vanilla-like fragrance when dry.
Flowers: Inflorescence in compact spikes, 2-5 cm long; sepals and petals lacking; stamens white, 8-20 mm long.
Fruits: Achenes dark brown to reddish-purple, 3-4 mm long, finely hairy, with a somewhat fleshy to leathery thickened ridge.
Notes: Recently some taxonomists (e.g., Williams 1993, Kartesz 1994) have recognized a second species (A. californica) in western North America. The latter is characterized by having a central leaflet with 6-8 lobes, whereas A. triphylla has a central leaflet with 3 lobes. Examination of herbaria material reveals that many sheets have mixed collections of plants with central leaflets with both 3 lobes (actually the 3-lobed ones usually have 2 additional, much smaller lobes, on the sides) and 7-9 lobes. This has also been noted in the field. At this time, we are not convinced that A. californica is worthy of recognition.
A shade-tolerant, submontane to montane Western North American forb distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in maritime to submaritime cool mesothermal climates on nitrogen-rich soils. Its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude, elevation, and continentality; plentiful on Vancouver Island, sparse on coastal mainland. Most frequent on water-shedding and water-receiving sites; commonly associated with Polystichum munitum. Characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-09-20 2:04:32 PM
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