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There are wide, extensive varieties of wild flowers in Minnesota.  The large diversity that exists here is a consequence of the variable landscape. 


In the Oak woodland of the ARCC natural area, there are wild flowers that have green, soft stems or hard, woody stems.  Some are perennials, others are annuals or biennials, which last for only one year or two respectively.  Also, non-native wild flowers are often found because of disturbed land and seeds from farms or gardens.  These flowers have now become naturalized here because of the specific variables in the soil, wind and temperature of the oak woodland that they inhabit.  The dry, shaded areas of the Oak woodland provides adequate habitat for a variety of flowers. 



false solomon's seal

False Solomon's seal  Polygonatum racemosa



False Solomon's seal are found in clearings in a forest.  They flower from April to July and their flowers are creamy-white, in an elongate, frothy, terminal cluster.  They have oval pointed leaves alternating along an arching  stem.  


The young shoots can be added to salads or prepared like asparagus. 



wild sarsaparilla

Wild sarsaparilla Aralia nudicaulis



Wild sarsaparilla, is a rhizomatous perennial.  This means that it has buds that produce shoots and will usually last at least 3 seasons.  Early settlers used to use the rhizome of this herb to make a form of root beer.


In the late spring-early summer, tiny green-white flowers will appear.  The flowers are usually found in a clump of 3 on top of the leafless stalk.  Purple-black berries appear in clusters soon after and are edible, but not palatable.  The useful part of this herb for humans is said to be the roots which can be used as a tonic, diuretic, or a cleansing herb that lowers fever.  The root has also been taken internally for coughs or externally for boils, arthritis, and swellings. 


The wild sarsaparilla is common across much of North America, especially in dry to moist forests.  Unfortunately, it is not as common in the wet, moist lands of the coniferous forest.




 Author: Laurie Hanson, Kerry Dennison, and Melissa Minter. October 2001.


© 2013 Anoka-Ramsey Community College - Biology Department.

The contents of this page have not been reviewed by ARCC.

Last Updated -July 28, 2016

Comments or Problems contact:

Melanie Waite-Altringer or Joan McKearnan or Terry Teppen