Canadian honewort

(Cryptotaenia canadensis)

Conservation Status
Canadian honewort
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


Canadian honewort is a 12 to 40 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on a single stem from a cluster of fibrous roots. It sometimes forms colonies. It does not flower until the second year.

The stems are erect, branched above the middle, light green, and hairless. They are slender, less than 5 16 thick.

The leaves are alternate and are divided into 3 leaflets. The terminal leaflet is symmetrical. The two lateral leaflets are asymmetrical, with the lower half (away from the terminal leaflet) usually distinctly wider than the upper half. This causes the leaflets to appear somewhat swept forward. Lower leaves are on leaf stalks (petioles) that are up to 4 long. The petiole forms a sheath at the base that wraps around the stem. The sheath is not inflated. When flattened out it is less than wide.

The leaflets are lance-shaped, elliptic, or egg-shaped, 1¼ to 6 long, and up to 2 wide. They are sometimes cut into two unevenly-sized lobes. They taper at the base to a winged leaflet stalk (petiolule) and taper at the tip to a sharp point. The upper and lower surfaces are hairless. The margins are toothed with coarse or fine, sharp, forward-pointing teeth. They are sometimes doubly toothed, the major teeth larger and forward-pointing. The lateral veins of the leaflet branch before reaching the margin, and the branches extend to the tips of the major teeth. The leaves become progressively smaller and shorter stalked as they ascend the stem. Upper leaves are stalkless.

The inflorescence is a compound umbel at the end of the stem and each branch appearing in June to July. The umbels are round and 2 to 3 in diameter, and have 2 to 7 stalks (rays). The rays are ascending, hairless, and 3 16 to 2 long. They are unequal in length length. They are sometimes subtended by a single leaf-like appendage (bract). When present, the bract is linear, sharply pointed, and shorter than the ray. Each ray terminates in a secondary umbel (umbellet).

Each umbellet has 2 to 10 stalked flowers. The stalks (raylets) are 116 to 13 16long and are unequal in length. They are sometimes subtended by 1 to 3 bractlets. The bractlets, when present, are lance-shaped, up to long, and shorter than the raylets. Each raylet terminates in a single tiny flower.

The flowers have 0 to 5 sepals, 5 petals, 5 stamens, and 2 styles. The ovary is hairless. If present, the sepals are reduced in size to to minute teeth. The petals are white, inversely egg-shaped, and rounded or abruptly pointed at the tip.

The fruit is a 2-chambered seedcase (schizocarp). It is green at first, turning dark brown with greenish-yellow ribs at maturity. It is smooth, hairless, narrowly oblong-elliptic, and to ¼ long. It is more than twice as long as wide. It is slightly flattened laterally and tapers to a short, prolonged extension (beak) at the tip. When ripe, the fruit splits into 2 separate seedcases (mericarps), each with a single seed. Each mericarp has 5 ribs. The ribs are not winged.




12 to 40


Flower Color




Similar Species


Moderate moisture to moist. Deciduous and mixed forest, woodland margins, stream banks, and thickets. Full shade.




June to July


Pests and Diseases




The roots can be cooked and eaten.


Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Apiales (carrots, ivies, and allies)  
  Suborder Apiineae  


Apiaceae (carrot)  
  Subfamily Apioideae  
  Tribe Oenantheae  


Cryptotaenia (honeworts)  

Subordinate Taxa






Deringa canadensis


Common Names


Canadian honewort


white chervil

wild chervil












A comparatively short and stout, narrow or prolonged tip on a thickened organ, as on some fruits and seeds.



Modified leaf at the base of a flower stalk, flower cluster, or inflorescence.



A small, often secondary bract within an inflorescence; a bract that is borne on a petiole instead of subtending it; bracteole.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



The split, usually one-seeded portion of a dry, multi-seeded fruit.



On plants: The stalk of a leaf blade or a compound leaf that attaches it to the stem. On ants and wasps: The constricted first one or two segments of the rear part of the body.



The stalk of a leaflet blade on a compound leaf.



In the Asteraceae (aster) family: a strap-shaped flower, or the strap-shaped portion of a flower. In the Apiaceae (carrot) and Euphorbiaceae (spurge) families: a branch of an umbel.



A branch of an umbellet.



A dry fruit formed from a compound ovary that splits into two or more parts (mericarps) at maturity.



The lower part of the leaf that surrounds the stem.



A flat-topped or convex, umbrella-shaped cluster of flowers or buds arising from more or less a single point.



A secondary umbel in a compound umbel.

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Kate Thomas


Deeply lobed leaves

    Canadian honewort   Canadian honewort  


    Canadian honewort   Canadian honewort  
    Canadian honewort      


    Canadian honewort   Canadian honewort  






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Location: Afton, Washington County

Deeply lobed leaves

Canadian honewort  

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Banning State Park

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blue Mounds State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Bur Oak WMA

Camden State Park

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Carver Highlands WMA, South Unit

Cedar Mountain SNA

Cedar Rock SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chimney Rock SNA

Clear Lake SNA

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crosby Farm Regional Park

Falls Creek SNA

Franconia Bluffs SNA

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glendalough State Park

Great River Bluffs State Park

Greenwater Lake SNA

Gustafson’s Camp SNA

Hampton Woods WMA

Hastings SNA

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Hemlock Ravine SNA

Holthe Prairie SNA

Itasca State Park

Jay Cooke State Park

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Kilen Woods State Park

King’s and Queen’s Bluff SNA

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Lebanon Hills Regional Park

Leif Mountain

Mille Lacs Moraine SNA

Minneopa State Park

Mississippi River County Park

Mound Prairie SNA

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo

Phelps Lake WMA

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Potato Lake SNA

Prairie Bush Clover SNA

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Rice Lake State Park

River Terrace Prairie SNA

River Warren Outcrops SNA

Robert Ney Memorial Park Reserve

Rockville County Park

Roscoe Prairie SNA

Rushford Sand Barrens SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Savanna Portage State Park

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Springs WMA

Sheepberry Fen

Sibley State Park

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Swedes Forest SNA

Townsend Woods SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Wood-Rill SNA








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