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University of Guelph


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GRIPP Goldenseal Hydrastis canadensis

Species name

Hydrastis canadensis L.

Conservation Status in Canada

According to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), this species was listed as threatened in 2000. It is also listed as schedule 1 and threatened under the Species At Risk Act (SARA). The IUCN red list also lists goldenseal as vulnerable.

Distribution and Habitat

In Canada, goldenseal is found in southwestern Ontario within the mixedwood plains ecoregion, preferring rich moist areas such as floodplain forests. Goldenseal is more widespread in eastern parts of the United States, being found as far west as Wisconsin and south to Arkansas and Georgia.

Why This Species Matters

Goldenseal is a highly valued medicinal plant around the world, most notably for its antimicrobial properties. Although this plant can be commercially cultivated, a significant amount is still wild harvested in Canada and the United States is still a concern.

  • Wild-collection
  • Habitat loss due to urban development and agricultural expansion
What is GRIPP doing?

Protocols for establishing an in vitro germplasm collection for goldenseal have previously been developed. These studies are now being applied by GRIPP researchers in order to – back up genetic diversity for this species in its cryobank.

  1. Liu C-Z, Murch SJ, Jain JC, Saxena PK. (2004). Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.): In vitro regeneration for germplasm conservation and elimination of heavy metal contamination. In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology–Plant 40(1):75-79.
  2. Murch SJ, Peiris SE, Liu C-Z, Saxena PK. (2004). In vitro conservation and propagation of medicinal plants. Biodiversity 5(2): 19-24.
Read a full report on the recovery strategy for this species.