Adoxa moschatellina (Moschatel)
|Also known as:||Musk-root|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist rich hardwood forest|
|Bloom season:||April - May|
|Plant height:||2 to 6 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Small yellowish-green flowers borne in a cube-shaped cluster at the end of a slender green stalk, erect or hanging in a noticeable arch, usually 5 flowers per cluster but may have more or less. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across, typically 4 flowers arranged on 4 sides of the stalk with 1 flower facing up on the top. Lateral flowers typically have 5 oval-round petals, fused at the base, the terminal flower with 4. A flower has the same number of pale-tipped stamens as petals (4 or 5), split to look like twice that number (8 or 10), surrounding a split green style in the center.
Leaves and stems:
Primary leaves are light green and basal with a long slender stalk before they split into 3 smaller stalked leaves that split again into 3 more leaflets, the center one also stalked. The leaflets are oval, the central one up to 1¼ inches long and 1 inch wide, shallow or deeply deeply lobed with smooth or toothed edges and rounded or pointed tips on the lobes. The flowering stalk has a pair of opposite, short-stalked, 3-parted leaves at about the midpoint of the stem.
Moschatel is a delicate, unassuming species of mesic hardwood forests and found both in Minnesota's southeastern and northeastern counties. According to the DNR, Moschatel was listed as a species of Special Concern in 1984 when its known populations were few, but in the big 2013 shake-up of MN rare species, was de-listed since biological surveys found it is more abundant in Minnesota than previously thought. It is, however, still considered rare throughout much of its range. Our populations may still be at risk due to degradation of forest habitats by invasive species such as buckthorn, garlic mustard, and Japanese barberry, and from pressures by the timber industry.
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Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in the Belle Creek Valley in Goodhue County.
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