American Alumrootor

American Alumrootor

American Alumroot

American alumroot's leafless, hairy, sticky flower stalk rises 18-36 in. and surrounds its upper third with loosely grouped, minute, greenish, cup-shaped flowers. A somewhat hairy stalk bearing yellowish-green, bell-shaped, drooping flowers in loose, slender, branching clusters; usually 4-5 flowers on each branch. A clump of attractive basal leaves springs from an underground stem. The leaves are fuzzy, oval, lobed and somewhat evergreen.Heuchera (HEW-ker-ah), are a genus of native North American perennials. Although there are over 50 species, the common name, coral bells, is traced to the familiar red flowers of species Heuchera sanguinea. Alumroot is another common name, referring to roots’ usefulness as a pickling agent.


American alumroot (Heuchera americana) of the Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage) Family occurs from northeastern Texas to eastern Nebraska and eastward to the Atlantic. In Arkansas, it occurs in the northwestern half of the state and several counties in the southwest. This perennial, herbaceous plant in its natural habitat grows in crevices of rocky cliffs and outcrops in sun to partial shade as well as in dry, well-drained rocky or sandy soils. It is also called rock geranium because of leaf resemblances. (The family name, from Latin, translates to “rock breaker”.American alumroot works well in shady to partially sunny gardens that have well drained sandy or rocky soil. In a garden, plants are durable, being adaptable to cold temperatures and dry conditions. With more room to grow, garden plants form a thick and attractive (foot-or-more wide and tall) mound of leaves and can work well as individual plants or in groups. Garden plants may produce many flowering stems, up to 3 feet tall, that create a lacy form above mounded leaves. The almost evergreen nature of the plants are an attribute over stark winter months. Dead flowering stems can be easily removed, if desired. (Various Heuchera species hybridize readily and many cultivars are on the market.

Several other alumroots are also found in Arkansas. A variety of hairy alumroot (Heuchera villosa), called Arkansas alumroot (var. arkansana), is reported to occur only in Arkansas. It is generally found on moist, shady bluff areas of the Ozarks on shale and sandstone substrates. It has large leaves with more jagged, pointed margins, and it blooms in the fall with flowers clustered tightly on shorter stems.The green-leafed form of alumroot isn't much grown in gardens as a groundcover, but it could be for they adapt well to dry shade. More common in cultivation are some of the marble-leafed selections such as Dale's Strain. It has beautiful silvery leaves veined with green and rimmed in green. The leaves are richly infused with maroon when they emerge in the spring; in the autumn and winter they take on the look of old pewter cups. (Source: www.uaex.uada.edu)


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