Aralia nudicaulis - Family, Ginseng. The root of this plant, although not the officinal root which the soda-fountain clerk uses (officinal meaning that which has commercial value), is sometimes used to flavor summer drinks. A single, long-stalked leaf rises to the height of a foot, divided into oblong, pointed leaflets, 5 leaflets on each of 3 divisions. To the unbotanical eye there are 3 compound leaves, each 5-divided, springing from the stem. Lower down the flowers grow on separate scapes in umbels, 2 to 7 umbels springing from the same center. May and June.
In the autumn these large, handsome leaves, with their dark purple attendant bunches of fruit, are very conspicuous. The roots are several feet long, and spread horizontally. (See illustration, p. 95.)
Wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicdulis)