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Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)

Item #:
Temporarily unavailable.
Item #:
Temporarily unavailable.
Ornamental Perennials


Hardy, native, spring-flowering, spreading subshrub
Description: Small, star-shaped, reddish-brown to purple flowers with five petals form in panicles on the upper portion of the unbranched stem; the toothed, compound leaves spiral around the stem; fall foliage color starts a clear yellow, changing to red and purple
Habit: Woody, trailing stems grow to 2-4 feet
Culture: Prefers moist, but well-drained soil and dappled sunlight
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin: Eastern United States

This uncommon species, native from Maine south to Florida, Louisiana and Texas, is the only woody member of the Buttercup family. It is found in damp woods, wet depressions and stream banks, and at Monticello it grows along a steep embankment above the Rivanna River. The genus and common names refer to the plant’s bright yellow roots, which were used by Native Americans to produce a yellow dye. They also used the roots as an antibacterial, astringent and anti-inflammatory medicine, which early European settlers soon discovered. Philadelphia nurseryman Bernard McMahon included it in his 1806 The American Gardener’s Calendar, as “Zanthorhiza apiifolia — Parsley-leaved Zanthorhiza.” Notable early twentieth-century plant explorer E. H. Wilson regarded Yellowroot as one of the best plants for hardy deciduous ground cover and described its use at the Arnold Arboretum at Harvard University in 1923.

Ships in a 3.5" pot.

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