Monday, November 14, 2011



Have you ever heard of yellowroot? Let me clarify it a bit for you, have you ever heard of Xanthorhiza simplicissima, syn. X. apiifolia? No? Me neither until one spring Perennial Plant Society meeting. There was a whole bag of yellowroot free for the taking. Not knowing what yellowroot was I was a bit hesitant to grab a start but one of the members (Joanne) is very well informed about wildflowers. She explained yellowroot grows in the shade and only gets to about two to three feet tall and has little blooms in the spring. It suckers slowly. Grows in the shade? The perked me up and I grabbed a start for my garden.

Once I got home from the meeting I researched yellowroot a little more on my own. There is only one member of the genus xanthoriza and this is it. It is native and is actually on the endangered list for wildflowers in Land Between the Lakes. Wow! I felt like I got a real gem for my garden. I planted my start under an oak tree in a low area of the yard. As promised it bloomed and looked nice for most of the summer. However, late in the summer my yellowroot appeared to go dormant (I hope it comes back next spring!). I wasn't sure if this was normal or not so imagine my surprise when on my visit to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens I found a whole stand of yellowroot. And this yellowroot was not dormant. It is quite healthy and looking great for September. 

Wikipedia says yellowroot is toxic in large quantities and deer do not eat it. Yellowroot does have some medicinal uses though. I think it is a neat native and am looking for good things to come of mine come next spring.....

in the garden....

Have you any experience with yellowroot?

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. Tina,

    I have seen Yellowroot growing in huge masses along damp places it makes a nice greenery. Thanks for this post I learned a lot I did not already know. Don't worry it should fill in your spot in the garden.

  2. You are helping the plants to not be extinct. I am also searching for shade loving plants.

  3. Now I am confused...I just wonder whatexactly in growing in our backwoods, this or Bidens or ? I also need to know if Skeeter wants some forget me not seeds..

  4. I've never heard of yellowroot before, but it looks like a nice addition to a shady woodland area. Hopefully, yours decided to take its winter sleep a little early and will be back next spring!

  5. Randy, Thanks! I hope it spreads as it is in such a difficult area for me. It is a neat plant.

    MKG, Those shade plants can be few and far between.

    Darla, This is definitely not bidens but I can see where the foliage my resemble bidens. This blooms in spring and it is a small bloom you barely notice. I will try to contact Skeeter but I think she is traveling. I'll have her email you.

    Rose, Fingers crossed for sure! If not I plan to find the person who brought the yellowroot and plead for more.

  6. Hopefully it will come bak on its own and you can spread it around to help save a plant for future generations to come.

    I forgot last week but I meant to mention that I love the new header. Looks great!!

  7. Thanks Mom, This is the first time I've used my own photo and couldn't resist. Gotta get Skeeter's photo in here soon though.

  8. I am growing yellowroot and will have to look at it tomorrow. I planted it about 15 years ago in an area of the garden that is obscure so I never see it. Not much help, am I?

  9. Perhaps it is dormant this first year...unfortunately I do not know anything about it...looks like a wonderful native!!

  10. I added six yellowroot plants to my garden this fall with plans of adding six more next spring. I'm excited to see how it turns out.

  11. I do not know this one. It does look so lovely in the shade of your garden trees.

  12. A new plant to me! I so hope it returns for you next spring....

    Darla, I will email you. Thanks...

  13. never heard of yellow root but as an endangered plant it is wonderful that you're growing it. I'm not surprised it's dormant for you and healthy somewhere else. It's because plants can't read labels and so they don't know what they're supposed to do. (that is a scientific explanation)