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Edible uses


The root has a sweet liquorice or anise flavour and can be dried, ground into a powder and used as a flavouring for biscuits etc[1][2][3]. The taste is probably too strong for the whole root to be used as a vegetable[1]. The dried seeds are used as a flavouring[1][2][3]. The unripe seed, when still fleshy, can be nibbled raw[1][2].

Unknown part

Material uses

The roots have been used by women as a feminine deodorant[3]. They have also been placed in the clothes cupboard to impart a nice smell to clothes and have been used to rinse babies nappies[3]. A decoction of the root has been used as a dip to kill lice in chickens[3].

Medicinal uses(Warning!)

Western sweet-cicely was widely employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who used it particularly to treat digestive disorders and as an antiseptic wash for a range of problems[3]. It is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.

An infusion of the plant is used in the treatment of coughs and colds[4][3]. The roots are antiseptic, carminative, febrifuge, oxytocic, pectoral and stomachic[3]. An infusion has been used to induce labour in a pregnant woman and to treat fevers, indigestion, flatulence, stomach aches etc[3]. An infusion of the roots has been applied externally as a treatment for swollen breasts, sores, sore eyes etc[3]. A decoction of the root has been used as a wash on venereal sores and skin rashes[3]. A poultice of the pulped roots has been used in the treatment of cuts, sores, swellings and bruises[3]. The root has been applied to teeth to relive the pain of toothache[3].

A hot decoction of the root has been used to kill head lice[3].


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible, otherwise sow it in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Osmorhiza occidentalis. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Succeeds in any deep moisture-retentive soil in sun or dappled shade[5].

Plants are hardy to about -20°c[5].

Well suited to naturalistic plantings in a woodland or wild garden[5]. A sweetly aromatic plant[5].


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Osmorhiza occidentalis. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Osmorhiza occidentalis.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Osmorhiza occidentalis
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
light shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
    Native Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Adapted Climate Zones
    None listed.
    Native Geographical Range
    None listed.
    Native Environment
    None listed.
    Ecosystem Niche
    None listed.
    Root Zone Tendancy
    None listed.
    Deciduous or Evergreen
    Herbaceous or Woody
    Life Cycle
    Growth Rate
    Mature Size
    1 x meters
    Flower Colour
    Flower Type


    1. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
    2. ? Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
    3. ? Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
    4. ? 4.04.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
    5. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
    6. ? Hitchcock. C. L. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. University of Washington Press (1955-00-00)

    Facts about "Osmorhiza occidentalis"RDF feed
    Article is incompleteYes +
    Article requires citationsNo +
    Article requires cleanupYes +
    Belongs to familyUmbelliferae +
    Belongs to genusOsmorhiza +
    Has binomial nameOsmorhiza occidentalis +
    Has common nameWestern Sweet-Cicely +
    Has drought toleranceIntolerant +
    Has edible partUnknown part +, Root + and Seed +
    Has edible useCondiment + and Unknown use +
    Has fertility typeSelf fertile + and Insects +
    Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
    Has hardiness zone6 +
    Has lifecycle typePerennial +
    Has material partUnknown part +
    Has material useDeodorant +, Incense + and Insecticide +
    Has mature height1 +
    Has medicinal partUnknown part +
    Has medicinal useAntiseptic +, Carminative +, Febrifuge +, Ophthalmic +, Oxytoxic +, Pectoral +, Poultice +, Skin + and Stomachic +
    Has search nameosmorhiza occidentalis + and western sweet-cicely +
    Has shade toleranceLight shade +
    Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
    Has soil texture preferenceSandy +, Loamy + and Clay +
    Has sun preferenceFull sun +
    Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
    Has taxonomy nameOsmorhiza occidentalis +
    Has water requirementsmoderate +
    Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
    PFAF cultivation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF edible use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF material use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF medicinal use notes migratedNo +
    PFAF propagation notes migratedNo +
    PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
    Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
    Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
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