HABITAT AND RANGE—Stoneroot is found in moist, shady woods from Maine to Wisconsin, south to Florida and Kansas.
DESCRIPTION OF PLANT—Like most of the other members of the mint family (Menthaceae), Stoneroot is aromatic also, the fresh flowering plant possessing a very pleasant, lemon-like odor. It is a tall perennial herb, growing as high as 5 feet. The stem is stout, erect, branched, smooth, or the upper part hairy.
The leaves are opposite, about 3 to 8 inches long, thin, ovate, pointed at the apex, narrowed or sometimes heart-shaped at the base, and coarsely toothed; the lower leaves are largest and are borne on slender stems, while the upper ones are smaller and almost stemless. Stoneroot is in flower from July to October, producing large, loose, open terminal panicles or heads of small, pale-yellow lemon-scented flowers. The flowers have a funnel-shaped 2-lipped corolla, the lower lip, larger, pendant and fringed, with two very much protruding stamens.
DESCRIPTION OF ROOT—Even the fresh root of this plant is very hard. It is horizontal, large, thick, and woody, and the upper side is rough and knotty and branched irregularly. The odor of the root is rather disagreeable, and the taste pungent and spicy. In the fresh state, as well as when dry, the root is extremely hard, whence the common name "stoneroot." The dried root is grayish brown externally, irregularly knotty on the upper surface from the remains of branches and the scars left by former stems and the lower surface showing a few thin roots. The inside of the root is hard and whitish.
COLLECTION, PRICES AND USES—Stoneroot, which is collected in autumn, is employed for its tonic, astringent, diuretic and diaphoretic effects. The price of the root ranges from 2 to 3 1/2 cents a pound.
The leaves are used by country people as an application to bruises.
Ginseng and Other Medicinal Plants, 1936, was written by A. R. Harding.