Marin’s early-flowering yellow-flowered Sanicles, Sanicula

by Doreen Smith

Sanicula arctopoides IMG 6420c

Sanicula arctopoides (footsteps-of-spring)—Vernon Smith

Sanicula arctopoides, footsteps-of-spring, is a coastal plant that decorates coastal grasslands each year, mostly on Point Reyes, and is sometimes seen near Nicasio Reservoir. While the plants look attractive, their “perfume” is like cow-dung to attract their fly pollinators.

Sanicula laciniata IMG 4382c

Sanicula laciniata (coast sanicle)—Vernon Smith

Sanicula laciniata—coast sanicle; or lace-leaf sanicle—is an early-flowering woodland plant, common in much of Marin. The laciness of the leaf varies by population; those on Mount Tamalpais are the laciest.

Sanicula tuberosa IMG 4377s

Sanicula tuberosa (turkey pea)—Vernon Smith

Sanicula tuberosa, turkey pea, has a round tuber root and mostly grows in serpentine areas. Rock Spring rocky barrens are likely places to find plants. The foliage, if gently crushed, smells like cilantro.