Our October Wildflower Wednesday star is a beauty each fall as the deeply cut, toothed, trifoliate, medium green leaves turn a delightful golden orange.
Then I noticed it had the most delightful foliage and wiry stems with little seed pods left over from the summer flowers.
I am not sure why this plant isn't in more gardens, after all, who needs big showy blooms on every plant when subtle beauty and charm can be found on this lovely native. It is found naturally growing in rich woods 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. It has tolerated dry conditions in my garden, blooms every year and the fall color is grand.
There's one small the problem in my garden. While, I have rich soil for part of the year, our dry summers and our even dryer fall months (the last few years especially) have made this cutie patootie unhappy. It survives, but isn't thriving. I've seen it looking fabulous in gardens with deeper, richer soil and I know given those conditions it would look fantastic.
Stunning is what comes to mind.
It pairs beautifully with our woodland ex-asters and would look equally lovely in the spring with Columbine, Baptisia and other spring lovelies.
Porteranthus stipulatus is too valuable a wildflower to let it languish in the dryer section of my garden. It's time to move it closer to the hose where I can give it a good gulp of water once a week. The perfect spot is near the front path, close to the faucet and in full view so visitors will be sure to see it's many charms.
Also, check with your State Native Plant Association for local nurseries.
Botanical name: Porteranthus stipulatus
Common Name: American Ipecac ( this common name comes from the Native Americans’ former medicinal use of the plant’s roots for an emetic), Indian physic; Midwestern Indian-physic
Synonym: Gillenia stipulata
Growth habit: Sub shrub
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, showy
Root: perennial rhizome
Sun: Part shade
Soil: 6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic) 6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
Faunal associations: Long and short tongued bees visit for nectar and pollen. Flies, butterflies, and skippers also visit.Propagation methods:
- Root division
- Seed collection: Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry
- From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall; winter sow in vented containers; coldframe or unheated greenhouse; sow indoors before last frost; direct sow after last frost
Comments: Will form colonies if happy. Imagine a hillside with those cute flowers all blooming at once and then each fall a blanket of bronze red, golden orange.
Deer/rabbit resistant : yes/yes
Thank you for stopping by to celebrate native wildflowers.
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.