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This is a native species.

Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Wild Licorice)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Foothills, montane. Floodplains. Spring, summer.
Lower Dolores River Canyon, September 12, 2005.

Wild Licorice spreads by underground roots and forms extensive colonies many feet in diameter and several feet high.  Its long clusters of white flowers are quite noticeable from spring to summer along streams, irrigation ditches, and ponds.  Seed pods are even more noticeable tight clusters of hooked prickles.

Commercial licorice is a compound originally derived from the roots of the southern European species Glycyrrhiza glabra and also somewhat from the roots of G. echinata.

Linnaeus named this genus in 1753.  Nuttall and Bradbury collected this species "on the banks of the Missouri" on the Aster trading expedition in 1811 and Nuttall described and named it in Pursh's 1814 Flora Americae Septentrionalis.  "Glycyrrhiza" is Greek for "sweet root".  "Lepidota" is Greek for "scaly" and refers to small structures on the leaves.  

Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Wild Licorice)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Foothills, montane. Floodplains. Spring, summer.
Dolores River, July 11, 2006.

Glycyrrhiza lepidota

Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Wild Licorice)
Fabaceae (Pea Family)

Foothills, montane. Floodplains. Spring, summer.
Lower Dolores River Canyon, September 12, 2005.

Clusters of spiny pods are very unusual in the Pea Family.

Range map © John Kartesz,
Floristic Synthesis of North America

State Color Key

Species present in state and native
Species present in state and exotic
Species not present in state

County Color Key

Species present and not rare
Species present and rare
Species extirpated (historic)
Species extinct
Species noxious
Species exotic and present
Native species, but adventive in state
Eradicated
Questionable presence

Range map for Glycyrrhiza lepidota