25 January 2009
On July 22, 2008, I was working in Will County, Illinois when I came across several colonies of fruiting goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). This plant is very difficult to miss when it has mature fruit, as the fruit looks a bit like a bright red juicy raspberry sitting in the middle of a large maple-like leaf. As you may know, this plant has been used in a variety of ways throughout history, including medicinally (antibacterial, antispasmodic, diuretic, laxitive, sedative, and tonic, among others), as a yellow dye, and as an insect repellent. Unfortunately, overcultivation from the wild has made it uncommon in some parts of the country. The photo on the right was taken on April 26, 2006 in Columbus, Ohio, and shows the many stamens characteristic of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).