Sanicula odorata is a perennial herb, 30-80 cm tall, slender, from a rhizome.
Leaves alternate, thin, 3-5 palmately divided, leaflets widest above middle, sharply, finely toothed, basal leaves long stalked, upper leaves sessile.
Flowers greenish-yellow, of 2 kinds, perfect, bur-like flowers in 3’s with tiny staminate green-yellow flowers interspersed in irregular, small umbels, styles longer than bristles, sepals lance to egg-shaped, 0.5 mm; June-Aug..
Fruit 0.3-0.5 cm, rounded, bur-like, dry aggregate of many small individual fruits, densely covered with hooked bristles, fruit stalks 1-1.5 mm long.
Wetland status: FACU.
Frequency in NYC: Very infrequent.
Habitat: Moist woods.
Notes: Dispersed by adhesion to fur or clothing. Dispersal to and establishment in new sites in successional forest, contiguous to old regrowth stands has been calculated at a rate of 1.67 m/yr (Matlack 1994).