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Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Yellowroot

Yellowroot is a fantastic woody groundcover that easily spreads to form a 1-3’ tall dense carpet, even in shade. It thrives in average to moist, slightly acidic soil. Small purple flowers bloom in spring and later produce star-shaped fruits that are eaten by birds and other small animals. It is the perfect plant to use as transition between sun and shade, and wet to dry. But, it is perhaps best loved for its outstanding fall color that starts out clear yellow before changing to red and purple.

Benefits

  • Great food source for birds, especially ground feeding birds
  • Provides cover for a wide range of wildlife
  • Great for stream banks and erosion control
  • Can be used in rain gardens
  • Outstanding yellow to red and purple fall color

Homeowner Growing and Maintenance Tips

May be cut back in early spring for a more tidy look. 


Height
1-3 ft

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Spread
2-4 ft

USDA Hardiness Zone Zone 3-9

Native Range

Native from Pennsylvania and West Virginia down to Florida and Louisiana. Found in damp woods, wet depressions and stream banks.

Native Trivia

Yellowroot has long been used by the Cherokee and other First Nation peoples as a dye. It was also used as an antibacterial, astringent and anti-inflammatory medicine.  European settlers quickly caught on to the usefulness of yellowroot, and used it in similar ways to the Native peoples who taught them.

Good Companions
Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum), Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida), Summer Sweet Bush (Clethra alnifolia)

Characteristics & Attributes

Shade
Sun
Songbirds
Ground cover
Plan Sub Group
Small Shrubs
Exposure
Filtered Shade
Morning Sun / Afternoon Shade
Soil
Acidic
Heavy clay
Humus-rich
Well-drained
Wide soil tolerance
Soil Moisture Preference
Average
Moist
Moist but well-drained
Wet
Attracts Wildlife
Mammals
Bloom Time
Early Spring
Habitat Collection
Songbird
Native Habitat
Forest
Riparian, wetland
Foliage Color
Green
Uses
Bog, water garden
Erosion control
Mass plant
Naturalizes
Native to
Alabama
Connecticut
Florida
Georgia
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Mississippi
New Jersey
New York
North Carolina
Ohio
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
Tennessee
Texas
Virginia
West Virginia