Shoe Buttons, Snakeroot, Satellite Plant
- Eudicots are a major lineage of flowering plants; see family for general characteristics
- Carrot Family (Apiaceae)
- Perennial herb
- Grows from a taproot
- Basal and alternate (1 leaf at each junction with stem)
- Deeply divided into several roughly-toothed lobes
- Long, thick leaf stalks (petioles)
- Inflorescence (flower arrangement) is a densely-packed, reddish-purple ball of flowers
- Each flowerhead has around 20 bisexual and male-only flowers
- Stamens (male flower parts) extend beyond the 5 tiny, curling petals
- Ovary inferior (below the attachment of other flower parts)
- Fruit is a schizocarp (a dry fruit that splits into 2 single-seeded segments)
- Height to 2 ft.
- Native to California
- Grows in woodlands and grasslands, and areas with serpentine soils
- 55-64% of the plants occur on ultramafic soils, e.g. serpentine; see ultramafic affinity rankings (Calflora per Safford and Miller 2020)
- See Serpentine Grassland for more about Edgewood’s serpentine soil and the unique communities it supports
- See Calflora for statewide observations of this plant
- Outside California, grows on the west coast of North America from British Columbia to Baja California, Mexico
- Grows at elevations between 65 and 6,070 ft.
Uses (San Mateo County Parks prohibits removal of any natural material)
- Native people used a decoction of the root as a cure-all and applied an infusion of leaves to snakebites
- Sanicula (san-IK-yoo-la) – from the diminutive of the Latin sanare, meaning “to heal”
- bipinnatifida (bye-pin-a-TIF-i-da)- from the Latin for “twice pinnately cut,” referring to the leaf
- Pollinated by insects
- Seeds have curved prickles, which can attach to fur or clothing, enabling dispersal
- Edgewood has 5 native sanicles (Sanicula species)
- Purple sanicle is the only one with reddish-purple, ball-shaped flowers
- Found in serpentine and non-serpentine grasslands
- See iNaturalist for observations of this plant
- Flowers February – May
Alexander, E.B. 2010, Oct. & 2011, Jan. Serpentine soils and why they limit plant survival and growth. Fremontia 38/39: 28-31.
Safford, H.D. 2010, Oct. & 2011, Jan. Serpentine endemism of the California flora. Fremontia 38/39: 32-39.
Safford, H.D. and J.E.D. Miller. 2020. An updated database of serpentine endemism in the California flora. Madroño 67(2): 85-104. BioOne Complete. PDF hosted by San Diego State University, San Diego, California.