This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
[Osmorrhiza Raf. loc. cit. 1818.]
Perennial herbs with fleshy clustered thickish aromatic roots, decompound leaves, and loose few-rayed umbels of white flowers. Involucre and involucels of few narrow bracts, or none. Calyx-teeth obsolete. Petals incurved at the apex. Stylopodium small, conic. Fruit narrow, linear or oblong-linear, short-beaked, compressed, more or less bristly along the ribs, attenuated at the base. Carpels 5-angular, slightly flattened dorsally, the ribs acute and nearly equal; oil-tubes obsolete or none. [In honor of George Washington.]
About 15 species, natives of North America, eastern Asia and western South America. Besides the following about 8 others occur on the west coast and in the Rocky Mountains. Type species: Myrrhis Claytoni Michx.
Involucels of several persistent bracts.
Style and stylopodium 1/2" long or less.
Style and stylopodium 1"-2" long.
Fruit beaked; stylopodium conic.
Fruit blunt; stylopodium depressed.
Myrrhis Claytoni Michx. Fl. Bor. Am. 1: 170. 1803. Osmorrhiza brevistylis DC. Prodr. 4: 232. 1830. O. Claytoni Clarke in Hook. f. Fl. Brit. Ind. 2: 690. 1879. W. Claytoni Britton in Britt. & Brown, Ill. Fl. 2: 530. 1897.
Erect, at length widely branched above, 1 1/2°-3° high, villous-pubescent throughout, especially when young. Lower leaves long-petioled, large, sometimes 1° wide, ternately decompound, the segments ovate or oval, incised-dentate; upper leaves nearly sessile, less compound; umbels long-peduncled, 2-6-rayed; rays divaricate, 1-2' long in fruit; involucels of several subulate bracts; pedicels 3"-8" long; fruit about 6" long, about 1" wide; style and stylopodium 1/2" long, the stylopodium slender-conic.
Myrrhis longistylis Torn Fl U. S 310. 1824. Osmorrhiza longistylis DC. Prodr 4: 232. 1830. W longistylis Britton in Britt. & Brown, Ill. Fl. 2: 530. 1897.
Similar to the preceding species but the leaflets usually less deeply cleft, the stem either glabrous or densely villous; styles in fruit about 1" long; bracts of the involucels lanceolate, 3"-4" long, persistent.
In woods, Nova Scotia to Ontario, Assiniboia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kansas and Colorado. Ascends to 4200 ft. in North Carolina. Roots with a more spicy taste and stronger odor of anise than those of W. Clay-toni. Plants with stems either glabrous or densely white villous are sometimes found growing together. May-June. Sweet-anise, -chevril or -javril. Cicely-root.
Osmorrhiza divaricata Nutt.; T. & G. Fl N. A. I:
639. Name only. 1840 W. divaricata Britton in Britt & Brown, Ill. Fl. 2:
Foliage pubescent; stem slender, somewhat pubescent or glabrous, 1 1/2°-3° high, widely branched above; leaf-segments thin, ovate, acute, or acuminate, coarsely toothed and usually incised, 1/2'-21/2' long; umbels long-peduncled, 3-6-rayed, the very slender rays 2'-4 long in fruit; involucels commonly none; pedicels very slender, 2"-1' long; fruit about 6" long, 1" wide or rather more, beaked; style and stylopodium 1/4"-1 1/2" long, the stylopodium slender-conic.
Woodlands, Quebec to New Hampshire; Manitoba to South Dakota, British Columbia, Utah and California. May-June
Washingtonia obtusa Coult. & Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 7: 64. 1900.
Osmorrhiza obtusa Fernald, Rhodora 4: 154. 1902.
Glabrous or pubescent, 2 1/2° high or less. Leaf-segments ovate to lanceolate, acute or acuminate, 1/2-2 1/2' long; involucre none; umbels 3-5-rayed, the slender rays very widely spreading, or one or two of them deflexed; pedicels widely divergent, 1/2' - 1' long in fruit; fruit 6"-8" long, rounded or short-tipped at the apex, the low stylopodium less than i" high.
Woodlands, Newfoundland and Labrador to New Brunswick and Quebec; British Columbia and Assiniboia to California and Arizona. May-June.