E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Sanicula graveolens Poepp. ex DC.
Sierra sanicle (northern sanicle)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #959)

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Distribution of Sanicula graveolens
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stems solitary, erect, branched near the base, irregularly branched upwards, 5-50 cm tall.
Alternate; lowermost stem leaves long-stalked, often attached below ground level and seeming to arise separately from the stem, pinnately divided in 3's, the primary divisions also lobed and toothed, the blades 1.5-4 cm long, 2-3.5 cm wide, lowermost pair of primary divisions separated from the upper by a narrow, entire leaf axis; middle and upper stem leaves few, smaller, often becoming sessile.
Inflorescence of terminal umbels; flowers light yellowish; involucel inconspicuous, of 6-10 bractlets.
Egg-shaped to globose burrs, 3-5 mm long, covered, at least on upper portion, with stout, hooked prickles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry rocky slopes and open forests in the lowland to montane zones; infrequent in BC south of 53degreeN, rare northward in WC BC to 56degreeN; S to MT, WY and CA, disjunct to S. America.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sanicula graveolens

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 92 852 1600
Slope Gradient (%) 8 24 40
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
45 183 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 5
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: CDF(5), ESSF(1), IDF(1), MS(2), SBS(3)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant to very shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, South American and Western North American forb distributed equally in the Pacific and Cordilleran regions. Species occurs on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-rich soils (Moder or Mull humus forms). Sporadic to scattered in open-canopy, young-seral forests on base-rich, water-shedding sites. A nitrophytic species characteristic of moisture-deficient sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Sanicula graveolens var. septentrionalis (Greene) St. John
Sanicula nevadensis S. Wats.
Sanicula nevadensis var. septentrionalis (Greene) Mathias
Sanicula septentrionalis Greene

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References