(Glycyrrhiza lepidota (Nutt.) Pursh)
Wild Licorice is a perennial and form long, tough taproots that interconnect the root crowns. The plants are hairless. They may grow up to 3 feet tall. Leaves are pinnate that look like two combs set back to back and are up to 8 inches long. Each leaf bears 7-21 leaflets that are up to 1 ½ inches long that have small scales when they are young. The scales soon change to sticky, resinous dots. About 10-20 pale, whitish-yellow flowers that are about ½ inch long and are grouped into spikes about 2-3 inches long that arise in the middle and upper branches. Wild licorice will bloom from May-August. It has light green to white flowers that ripen in the fall to cluster of burs which contain pods of small bean like seeds. The seeds are enclosed in dark brown pods that are equipped with hooked like prickles like a cocklebur.
KEY FEATURES OF WILD LICORICE:
Wild licorice has aromatic creeping roots with a licorice scent. It has pinnately compound leaves with 11-19 leaflets. This plant will have reddish brown bur-like pods.
Wild licorice can be found in forage crops, hay fields, rangeland, right of ways and waste areas.
There are herbicides and other control methods that commonly control wild licorice. For more information on these herbicides and other control methods contact the SCWP office.
Wild licorice was widely used as medicine by Native Americans on the Great Plains. It was used for teas as a fever remedy for children. The liquid from the steeped leaves were applied to the ears to relieve earaches and the roots were chewed on to relieve toothaches and sore throats.