Sanicle is one of the Umbellifers but it is quite small and delicate, unlike some of the others in this group like Hog weed and Hemlock. It starts to flower in May and June and continues through to August. It has little almost spherical shaped umbels, not the typical umbrella shape. Also the stamens which are initially folded in on themselves eventually open up and stick out giving the flower head an almost star like appearance.
The flowers in this set, which I took in some woods just up from Llandogo in the Wye valley, show the plant as having white flowers but I have seen them with slightly pinkish flowers.
The leaves are not so much like the typical umbellifer leaf ie fern like. The are more chunky and hairless, quite shinny really, as you can see in the photo below. Technically known as glaborous.
The seeds like many woodland plants are dispersed by hooks which catch on the fur of animals. Its name ‘sanicle’ is derived from the Latin word ‘sanus’ meaning ‘healthy’, relating to its value as a medicinal plant. Tutsan is a plant with a name that has a similar derivation, ie Tout saine… French, this literally meaning all-healthy.