Wild sarsaparilla is a member of ginseng family. This is a woody vine that grows prostrate on the forest floor disguised as
a group of small herbaceous plants. Each little “plant” is actually a single divided (compound) leaf originating from an interconnecting
woody stem that is hidden under the forest litter. On rare occasions, the vine reveals itself by crawling up tree trunks.
Wild sarsaparilla flowers only when it has plenty of light. Early in spring, when its leaves are not yet fully developed,
it produces small greenish-white flowers in spherical clusters, each on a separate short stalk beneath the compound leaf.
Pollinated by bees, flowers ripen into fleshy blue-black edible berries in mid-summer. The woody horizontal stem of wild sarsaparilla
sometimes has substituted for sassafras in herbal medicine and the making of home-made root beer. In modern herbal medicine
the plant is used as a primary remedy for Lyme disease.
Flowering. May 23
Flowers. May 30
Fruiting. July 9
Fruits. July 9