Bristly sarsaparilla

Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated April 2019.

Scientific name: Aralia hispida  Vent.

Common name(s): bristly sarsaparilla

Link(s): USDA PLANTS Profile , NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– perennial

– stem has bristles, not spines

-leaves are

  • compound
  • alternate
  • teethed

– generally flowers June-August in ME

– ripe fruits as of August


-man-made disturbed land

-forest edges

-sandy fields and meadows


Natural History:

-the bark and the root have medical purposes

  • relaxant
  • stimulant
  • kidney disorders


Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Go Botany. “Aralia Hispida Vent.” Aralia Hispida (Bristly Sarsaparilla): Go Botany, 2021,