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

Osmorhiza occidentalis (Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray) Torr.
western sweet-cicely (western sweetroot)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Adolf Ceska  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #14207)

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Distribution of Osmorhiza occidentalis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a well-developed taproot with a strong licorice odor, below a slightly branched stem-base; stems stout, 0.4-1.2 m tall, clustered, glabrous.
Basal leaves clustered on long stalks; stem leaves several on shorter stalks, divided 1-3 times; leaflets lance-shaped and toothed, 2-10 cm long, 0.5-5 cm wide.
Inflorescence of loose compound umbels; flowers yellow, stalks short at flowering, becoming longer at maturity; involucels lacking.
Linear-oblong, blunt at the base, glabrous, 12-20 mm long, narrowing to a short beaklike tip.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Spring to Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Mesic to dry forest opening and rocky slopes in the montane zone; infrequent in extreme SC and SE BC; E to SW AB and S to CO and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Osmorhiza occidentalis

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) 223 1675 2115
Slope Gradient (%) 0 39 98
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
44 203 315
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 4 7
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: ESSF(20), ICH(2), MS(5)


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

Glycosma occidentalis Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray
Osmorhiza ambigua (A. Gray) J.M. Coult. & Rose

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References