Plant Urination

Maryland has two Osmorhiza plant species.


While working on a jobsite in the Slaughterhouse Branch forested floodplain in Baltimore, I noticed an aggregate of Aniseroot, also known as Long-Styled Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza longistylis). 

This plant closely resembles the more common Sweet Cicely (Osmorhiza claytonii), which I also observed on this 79-acre Piedmont tract, and which was all going to seed.


Aniseroot leaves when crushed, have a distinct anise licorice scent, and is native throughout the northeast.


The day was hot and humid, with afternoon temperatures reaching 94-degrees, and with a higher humi-ture rating.

The water that you see on the leaves of this aniseroot aggregate are not the morning dew, but rather GUTTATION or urination by plants, where the plants push water and salts out through the pores, to the edges of the leaf.

I have seen this phenomenon several times on aniseroot, and on some other plant species.