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FutureStarrThe Angelica OOR
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.
Fuzzy-leafed hairy alumroot (Heuchera villosa), which European colonists noticed upon arrival in the 1600s, is one of about 35 to 50 different Heuchera species native to North America and Mexico. These plants have a subdued appearance, compared with hybridized Heucheras widely available today in garden centers in a mind-boggling array of colors from orange to brown to burgundy to chartreuse to purple so dark it looks black. The natives, including Heuchera americana (American alumroot) and Heuchera richardsonii (Prairie alumroot), are evergreen perennials commonly found in woodlands, prairies, and mountainous areas (although they are adaptable and can be found gamely surviving in crevices of rocky outcroppings and even in deserts).
Alumroot, or Heuchera, is a hardy perennial with unusual characteristics. The plant not only retains its leaves all year round, but those leaves are also bright green, caramel, dark red, lemon, silver, black or bronze, Some varieties of alumroot have bicoloured leaves, unusual veins or incisions in the leaf. There are also varieties with XXL leaves. Delicate sprays of flowers also project above those unusual leaves in the summer on tall, thin stems. Alumroot can be planted in beds, pots, containers or baskets. Prairie Alumroot is a low growing plant which forms a one foot tall mound-like rosette of evergreen leaves. Each leaf is 3-5 inches wide and long, has a hairy upper and lower surface, and is roughly heart shaped with 5 shallow lobes and fine teeth on its margins. The leaves are held up by 6-12 inch hairy leaf stalks (petioles) which attach directly to the plant's central stems. The stems never grow more than an inch tall and are attached to a very fibrous root system. The leaves remain over winter, turning orange or reddish brown in the fall and reverting to green in the following spring. The flowering stems (inflorescences) reach a peak height of two to three feet in June and produce small 1/8 inch yellow-green flowers. (Source: urbanecologycenter.org)