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American Licorice Glycyrrhiza lepidota

 

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American Licorice
© Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Alternate name: Wild Licorice

Family: Fabaceae, Pea view all from this family



Description Erect perennial up to 3 ft. The stem is covered with minute, sticky hairs. Cream flowers, which resemble those of alfalfa, are crowded on a terminal spike. Leaves are pinnately compound. The brown fruit is covered with hooked spines and resembes a cocklebur.


Flower June - July.


Flower June - July


Habitat Prairies; stream valleys; roadsides.


Range W. Ontario to British Columbia, south to n.w. Missouri, n. Arkansas, Texas, Mexico, and California.


Discussion The root has a distinct licorice flavor, but commercial licorice is obtained from another plant of this genus that is not a North American native.


Comments The root has a distinct licorice flavor, however commercial licorice is obtained from another, non-native plant of this genus. Like other members of the pea family, this plant requires the presense of microorganisms which inhabit nodules on the plant's root system and produce nitrogen compounds necessary for the plant's survival. Soil/seed inoculum is available at most native plant nurseries. A rapidly spreading soil binder.


Exposure Preference Sun to partial sun.


Native Distribution W. Ontario to British Columbia, s. to n.w. Missouri, n. Arkansas, Texas, Mexico & California


Site Preference Prairies; stream valleys; roadsides


Soil Preference Variable; often in heavy clay or saline soils.


Wildlife Value Deer and pronghorn eat the foliage. Upland game birds and small mammals eat the seeds. Pocket gophers eat the rhozimes.


 

 

 

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