New York Natural Heritage Program
Golden-seal
Hydrastis canadensis L.
Dicots

General Description [-]
A small herbaceous plant usually growing in groups with one small leaf at the bottom and two large leaves at the top of the hairy stem. The leaves are heart-shaped with five-seven toothed lobes. There is one flower at the top of the stem composed of showy white stamens. This matures into a round cluster of showy red berries.

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification [-]
It is best to search for this plant when the leaf is present with a flower or fruit. However, the distinctive leaves can be used for identification when flowers and fruits are absent.

Similar Species [-]
This species may be confused for Mayapple, Podophyllum peltatum, or Canada waterleaf, Hydrophyllum canadense, when not in flower. Mayapple has a peltate leaf with lobes that are split into two smaller lobes at the tip and a single white flower blooms below the leaves. Canada waterleaf has lobes with larger teeth and a very rough surface and the light lavender flowers bloom in clusters just below the leaf blades.
Golden-seal Images
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Images of Similar Species
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The Best Time to See
Hydrastis canadensis flowers in May. Its red fruits mature June through August.
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Vegetative Flowering Fruiting
The time of year you would expect to find Golden-seal vegetative (blue shading), flowering (green shading) and fruiting (orange shading) in New York.