Stems erect, glabrous and glaucous when young, 1 to 3 feet high from a thickened, perennial rootstock; the base of the stem with two or three large, sheathing bracts, near the top of the stem a single, large, triternate, nearly sessile leaf and usually a similar but smaller leaf near the base of the inflorescence. Leaflets thin, oval, oblong or obovate, 1 to 3 inches long when mature, visually only partly developed at flowering time, three to five-lobed at the apex. Flowers several in a loose terminal panicle, greenish purple, one-quarter to one-half of an inch broad; sepals six, oblong; petals six, smaller, cucullate and opposite the sepals; stamens six. Each flower contains a single pistil with two ovules, which ripens into a globose, blue, glaucous, berrylike fruit, about one-third of an inch in diameter. As the seed grows it ruptures the thin, transparent pericarp before maturity.

In woods and thickets. New Brunswick to South Carolina, west to Manitoba, Tennessee, Nebraska and Missouri. Flowering in April and May.

Memoir 15 N. Y. State Museum

Plate 75

Blue Cohosh

Blue Cohosh - Caulophyllum thalictroides