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

Sanicula crassicaulis Poepp. ex DC.
Pacific sanicle (Pacific blacksnakeroot; Pacific sanicle )

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Réal Sarrazin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #26851)

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Distribution of Sanicula crassicaulis
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a taproot; stem solitary, erect, 25-120 cm tall.
Alternate; basal and lower stem leaves palmately 3-5 lobed or divided without a narrow leaf axis, stalked below, becoming sessile above, primary divisions merely lobed or with teeth, blades 3-13 cm long, 2-18 cm wide.
Inflorescence of terminal umbels less than 1 cm wide in flower; flowers yellow or sometimes purplish; involucels inconspicuous, of 5 narrow bractlets.
Subglobose burrs, 2-5 mm long, covered, except sometimes at the base, with stout, hooked prickles.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to dry coastal bluffs, meadows and woodlands in the lowland zone; frequent in SW BC, known from S Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and adjacent coast, infrequent in WC BC, known from the Queen Charlotte Islands and Skeena River valley; S to CA and MX, disjunct to Chile.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Sanicula crassicaulis

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) 1 110 315
Slope Gradient (%) 0 29 135
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
23 125 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
1 2 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: CDF(82)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-toler­ant to shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, South American and Pacific North American forb. 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 cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References