Home of the Practically Perfect Pink Phlox and other native plants for pollinators

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Underappreciated Native Plants: Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Go ahead and repeat that name at least 5 times. I want you to remember it!

 If that's too much, you can always call it Yellowroot.  This groundcovering, Spring flowering semi-woody plant is another of the underapppreciated natives that I think should be in more gardens.

I love the tiny, delicate purplish flowers that show well before the foliage arrives. I also appreciate it's rather fine foliage that has been described as resembling celery. It's a fantastic shaped leaf to add to a garden that already has a lot of small leaves. The foliage looks good all summer, then turns a delightful purple every Autumn.

But, let's not stop there! Yellowroot provides food and cover for over 50 different birds and mammals in the wild. This includes upland game birds, songbirds, and small animals that feed on the fruit. Because it can grow in fairly deep shade, the plant can provide understory habitat and food where few other plants can survive. Imagine how happy the songbirds and other critters that visit and live in your garden will be if you plant Xanthorhiza simplicissima.

Pretty flowers, a wet shade ground cover, good wildlife value and gorgeous fall color puts this beauty on the please plant this underappreciated native list!

Now, what was that name I wanted you to remember? 
Xanthorhiza simplicissima!

xoxogail

Gail Eichelberger is a gardener and therapist in Middle Tennessee. She loves wildflowers and native plants and thoroughly enjoys writing about the ones she grows at Clay and Limestone. She reminds all that the words and images are the property of the author and cannot be used without written permission.

19 comments:

  1. I admit I don't know much about Yellowroot ... well now I know more because of your post. Thanks! I don't have much wet shade and it isn't native here, so I'll appreciate it when I travel and now I'll know what to look for. Interesting colors on the blooms, foliage, and root.

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    1. It will do fine in average to moist soil!

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  2. Ha, I don't think I can say this even with it on the page before me. Ha... It sure is a pretty flower. I can imagine the foliage. I will have to look up what that looks like. I don't know if I have ever seen this before or not. Probably not since it doesn't look familiar.

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    1. I have to be looking at it to pronounce it, even though, it's been in my garden for years.

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  3. Pretty!
    Thanks for making us all more aware of native plants. At a plant sale last Saturday I bought Mayapples, hoping to establish a colony at the edge of my woods.
    Have a great day!
    Lea

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    Replies
    1. It won't be long before you have a lovely mayapple colony.

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  4. Thank you for sharing about Yellowroot - I did not know. JC

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    1. I enjoyed your eternal garden post!

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  5. I don't know it either but oh it is so delicate and lovely! Hard to forget.....

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    1. That's the perfect description Donna.

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  6. I'd love to use this plant but finding yellow root isn't simple. Maybe there are sources in the US but I don't know of any in Canada that sell it. I'd also love to know how to pronounce it! Zan-ttho-ry-za? simplicissima is a piece of cake after that tongue twister.

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    1. I would send you some if I could get it through customs!

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  7. I've thought a lot about trying to incorporate some yellowroot in my garden, but I'm not sure quite where to put it.

    I have some semi-shady spots, but noplace that stays reliably moist.

    In your experience, does it have some tolerance for sites that don't match its 'ideal' location? For instance, could it tolerate some sun and dry soil?

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    1. Average garden conditions would work, just not concrete dry all summer.

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  8. Hi Gail, what an interesting plant. Reminds me vaguely of an Epimedium. I hope you have a great weekend.

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    1. Thanks Grace. It's a pretty thing that would work in your garden!

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  9. The flowers are really gorgeous, and so unique; thanks for sharing, I am always looking for something a bit different for the garden.

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  10. I was thinking the same thing as Grace--it does remind me of an epimedium. Sweet little flowers...I think I'll just call it Yellowroot instead of trying to pronounce its botanical name:)

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  11. Very pretty little flowers. And NO I can't say the name. Native plants in this area seems to cover a few states...guessing it's the zone and long history in the area.

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Let us be grateful to people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom.


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