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

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wildflower Wednesday: The Charming Indian Physic

Has fabulous fall color.

That's what initially caught my eye, but, then I noticed it had the most delightful foliage and wiry stems with little seed pods left over from the summer flowers. I decided then and there that it had to be in my garden.

It wasn't until the following May that I got to see the charming flowers. Prairie Moon Nursery says that the  flowers of Porteranthus stipulatus have a subtle beauty that is a nice break from the bigger blooms of most wildflowers. I think the little star shaped flowers are beautiful and somewhat reminiscent of apple blossoms. They look good planted with Aquilegia canadenses, Heuchera villosa and Pentemon calycosus.

For the greatest impact, plant it along a shady path where the small flowers would be seen by anyone walking by. Be generous, plant several for the biggest impact~remember, these are small flowers and you want your garden visitors to appreciate their subtle beauty!
little seed pods
 I am not sure why this plant isn't in more gardens. It's really lovely and not at all difficult. It is found naturally growing in rich woods on calcareous soils in a good portion of the Eastern US. It can take full sun in northern states, but, I recommend half sun in gardens that are on the hot/dry side.

I wish I had photos showing pollinator visitors, but, take my word for it~ that bees, flies, butterflies and skippers stop by to nectar or gather pollen.

My dear friends, this is a seriously cute wildflower! Give it a try...

The particulars about Porteranthus stipulatus
Common Name: Indian physic
Growth habit: Sub shrub
Family: Rosaceae
Native Range: Central and eastern North America
Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 2.50 to 3.00 feet Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Flower: White or light pink
Sun: Part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Faunal associations: Long and short tongued bees visit for nectar and pollen. Flies, butterflies, and skippers also visit.

Thank you for stopping by and welcome to Clay and Limestone's Wildflower Wednesday celebration. WW is about sharing and celebrating wildflowers from all over this great big, beautiful world. Join us on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Remember, it doesn't matter if they are in bloom or not; and, it doesn't matter if we all share the same plants. It's all about celebrating wildflowers. Please leave a comment when you add your url to Mr Linky.

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.


  1. Oh that is a pretty one but the 'calcareous soil' requirement might spell problems for it here in my acid soil. I will enjoy it via your photos and posts.

    1. Most descriptions say slightly acid soil! I think if purchased locally or as near to your locale as possible it will be fine!

  2. This is new to me. I must say it is calling my name. I wonder if it grows around here? I will have to check into this. Happy WW.

  3. That is a nice looking plant, foliage, flowers, and seedheads. I looked up its range, and see it is not native here, but is to Missouri, which is to the east of us.

    I'll get my post done later.

  4. Gail what a fabulous plant. I have been looking for a native shade lover and this certainly fits the bill...besides being native here...so I hope to add this to several spots..thanks for the recommendation!!

  5. Wow-that is a cute thing! Lovely flowers, autumn color, hardy, what's not to love about a plant like that! I love white blooms and those are particularly attractive. Maybe after your post, more gardeners will request this plant from their local nursery. Happy wildflower gardening!

  6. When I was linking back to your page was delighted to see that we'd included the same marvellous wildflower. It has pretty spring colour. Lovely colour in the fall and appears to handle -30C winter temperatures and Tennessee heat - how could you not love it?!

  7. I have wanted this plant ever since seeing it on Tammy's blog. So I got some seed from the NCBG and got 3 seedlings this year. I hope they make it. I love this plant.

  8. Those are very sweet. Another plant to replace dead ones in the garden. LOL!~~Dee

  9. Very pretty! I haven't heard of this one before. I looked it up online - the flowers look so beautiful and delicate en masse!

  10. It's a pretty one and it looks like it might work in my garden. I especially like the foliage since it's not easy to find colorful autumn foliage for mild climate gardens.

  11. I'm with you, Gail, I love that foliage... especially the texture of the golden leaves. It's not suitable for my zone 9, but it surely looks pretty in your garden! Enjoyed beeing in your fall garden for a few minutes. :-) Meems

  12. It does look like a cute little wildflower. I will consider it!

  13. Such lovely fall foliage! If it can take the shade, I have just the place for it!

  14. Hmmmm...sounds like another plant I need to consider. I wonder when it would bloom here. I'll check it out. Love the fall color and the shape of the foliage!

  15. Looks very similar to Bowman's Root. I think they are in the same genus. Thanks for introducing me to another charming wildflower!

  16. my last Wildflower Wednesday from Elephant's Eye in Porterville.
    November will find me exploring a new/old garden on False Bay.

  17. Hello Gail. I joined your list last week but I'm sorry my comment didn't make it to you then. I'm a relatively new blogger with a passion for country gardens and wildlife. I'm looking forward to joining in with your monthly wildflower theme if that's ok with you. Gillian


"Insects are the little things that run the world." Dr. E O Wilson