Plant Data Sheet

Osmorhiza chilensis


    Photo by Richard W. Wright                                                    Photo Ó Lee Dittmann

Species (common name, Latin name)

Mountain sweet cicely, Sweet cicely (Osmorhiza chilensis) (4 and 6)

Also known as Osmorhiza Berteroi (2)


Native to the United States, Osmorhiza chilensis occurs mostly in the west and north eastern states. (5)


Its range also goes down the west coast, all the way into some areas of South America. (2 and 6)


Climate, elevation

Osmorhiza chilensis is found from low to middle elevations in open coniferous and deciduous forests, forest edges and thickets. (4)


Local occurrence (where, how common)

Osmorhiza chilensis is common in the habitats it occurs in shady woods favoring well-drained soil. (2)


Habitat preferences

As noted above, Osmorhiza chilensis prefers shady woods and well-drained soils (2)


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress-tolerator, competitor, weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)


Osmorhiza chilensis does have the ability to self-fertilize if not pollinated from other plants (3)


Associated species

Grows in open mixed or coniferous forests, forests edges, including yellow pine forests, red fir forests, lodgepole Forest, and mixed evergreen forests. (1)


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seed (6)


Collection restrictions or guidelines

Seeds are hand collected in early August (or earlier depending on location) when seeds turn black and are easily hand stripped from the inflorescence. Seeds are kept in paper bags in a well ventilated drying shed prior to cleaning. (6)


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

For colder environments 5 months cold moist outdoor stratification, a minimum of 140 days, is recommended for germination. (6)

Other recommendations include soaking the seeds for 24 hours and then cold stratifying them for 42 days. (7)


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

Seed longevity is estimated at 5 years in sealed containers at 1C. (6)


Recommended seed storage conditions

See ‘Seed life’


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Germination is reported to be higher in the presence of light for this genus.
Containers are filled and sown in late fall and irrigated thoroughly prior to winter stratification. (6)


Seeds should be surface sown along with a controlled release fertilizer. Media is kept slightly moist during germination (6)


 Another recommendation is to sow seeds in flats and cover with media. Water flats with an automatic irrigation system. Seeds will germinate in 10 days after sowing. Seedlings can then be transplanted to individual containers of 2” x 7” tubes. After establishment, seedlings are moved to a shadehouse. (7)

Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

Growing media used is 50% milled spaghnum peat, perlite, and vermiculite with Osmocote controlled release fertilizer (13N:13P2O5:13K2O; 8 to 9 month release rate at 21C) and Micromax fertilizer (12%S, 0.1%B, 0.5%Cu, 12%Fe, 2.5%Mn, 0.05%Mo, 1%Zn) at the rate of 1 gram of Osmocite and 0.20 gram of Micromax per conetainer. (6)


Also flats can be used containing Sunshine Mix #4 Aggregate Plus (peat moss, perlite, major and minor nutrients, gypsum, and dolomitic lime). (7)

Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)


From seed to transplanting in a container to site, total time is 11 months. (6)

Recommended planting density

Plants grow 30 to 100 cm tall (4), but can be planted approximately 30 cm apart.


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once etc.)

Water during first summer only if necessary


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan



Sources cited


1. California Native Plant Link Exchange


2. Jacobson, Arthur Lee. 2001 “Wild Plants of Greater Seattle” Arthur Lee Jacobson. Seattle, WA.


3. Plants for a Future—Species Database:


4. Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast. Lone Pine Publishing, Redmond, WA. 1994.


5. University of Oregon 2002, “Osmorhiza chilensis, Sweet cicely”. Environmental Studies Service Learning Program, Hendricks Park Project.


6. Wick, Dale; Evans, Jeff; Luna, Tara. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of container Osmorhiza chilensis H. & A. plants (160 ml conetainers); Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: (accessed 5 June 2004). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.


7. Young, Betty. 2001. Propagation protocol for production of container Osmorhiza chilensis H. & A. plants (Deepot 16); Golden Gate National Parks, San Francisco, California. In: Native Plant Network. URL: (accessed 5 June 2004). Moscow (ID): University of Idaho, College of Natural Resources, Forest Research Nursery.



Data compiled by (student name and date)

Wendy DesCamp 6/5/04