Anemopsis

Scientific name

Anemopsis Hook. & Arn.

Common names

bear root, Yerba Mansa

Family

Saururaceae

Similar genera

Ipomoea, Sphenoclea

Native distribution

North America; southwestern United States into northern Mexico

Species cultivated

Anemopsis californica (Nutt.) Hook. & Arn.

Adventive distribution

none

Weed status

not weedy

Habit

amphibious marshy herb

Brief description

Perennial. Stoloniferous, rootstock thick, woody, aromatic. Stem hollow. Leaves alternate, mostly basal with some cauline; stolons elongate; basal leaves sheathing, leaf blade elliptic-oblong, apex acute, base round to cordate; cauline leaves dimorphic; primary leaf sessile, leaf blade ovate, apex round to acute, base clasping, with smaller leaves in axil; secondary leaves 1-3, petiolate, leaf blade elliptic, apex rounded to acute. Inflorescence an erect spike, conical, densely-flowered; involucral bracts 5-8, petaloid, white to reddish. Flowers small, bisexual; perianth absent.

Natural habitat

wet, alkaline, saline, and coastal marsh areas

Additional comments

Anemopsis californica is the sole member of the genus. In addition to being cultivated and sold as a pond plant, it is often used for medicinal purposes.