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

Osmorhiza purpurea (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Suksd.
purple sweet-cicely (purple sweetroot)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #7318)

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Distribution of Osmorhiza purpurea
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a well-developed taproot, sometimes below a slightly branched stem-base; stems single, 20-70 cm tall, branching.
Basal and stem leaves deltoid in general outline, twice divided into 3's, leaflets coarsely toothed, 1-8 cm long, 0.5-4 cm wide, usually glabrous, yellowish-green; stem leaves reduced.
Inflorescence of loose compound umbels; flowers pink to purplish (sometimes greenish-white), several to many in 2-6 spreading heads; involucels absent.
Spindle-shaped, 8-13 mm long, bristly hairy, with constriction below the beaked tip, which is broader than tall.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Mesic to moist streambanks, meadows and open forests in the lowland, montane and subalpine zones; common throughout BC; N to AK, S to ID, MT and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Osmorhiza purpurea

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) 3 1123 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 20 115
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
2 300 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
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: AT(1), BG(3), BWBS(4), CDF(18), CWH(62), ESSF(205), ICH(50), IDF(14), MH(30), MS(28), SBS(37), SWB(1)


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

Osmorhiza chilensis var. purpurea (J.M. Coult. & Rose) B. Boivin
Osmorhiza leibergii (J.M. Coult. & Rose) Blankinship
Washingtonia purpurea J.M. Coult. & Rose

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References