USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. An illustrated flora of the northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 vols. Charles Scribner’s Sons, New York. Vol. 2: 391.
Where Commonly Found: Riparian, meadows, field and disturbed areas of central and western North America and introduced in the east, CT ME, MA, RI.
How to Identify:
(For unfamiliar words: Wikipedia Glossary of Botanical Terms).
Go Botany Key to Glycyrrhiza lepidota.
Minnesota Wildlfower site for Glycyrrhiza lepidota.
Flower Type: Creamy white, cone-shaped spike cluster, rising 1-3 inches above the leaf axils. Flowers are pea-shaped with a long upright upper petal. Flowering time is July – August.
Leaf Arrangement: Leaves are alternate with one leaf per node.
Leaf Type: Compound entire leaves (no teeth or serration) composed of 11 to 19 leaflets that are up to 1/5″ long and .5″ wide with tapered or rounded tips and bases, no stalk. Leaflets are often slightly bent up along the central vein. Stems and leaf bottoms are often gland-dotted.
Height: 1′ -3.5′
Seed Collection: Oblong green pods, about .5″ long covered with hooked bristles, replace spent flowers. The pods will contain just a few seeds and ripen to dark brown, persists through winter, but should be harvested as soon as pod turns brown. Split open pods to harvest the red-brown seeds. Store cool, dry.
Attracts: Bees, Butterflies, Birds and Deer (will eat the leaves, so if deer-proned, maybe avoid)
Use: Garden or Naturalizing
Light: Part Shade to Full Shade
Hardiness Zone: 4 to 8 USDA Zone Map
Notes: Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Wild Licorice), is a pea/bean family plant, suitable for part to full shade areas. It is not the source of licorice candy flavoring, but is super sweet and notoriously raises blood pressure, but great for many wildlife species including our pollinators.
Native to NE (except VT, NH), Midwest, South and West US: Biota of North America Program (BONAP) – North American Plant Atlas (NAPA).