Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Botanical Name: Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Common Name:
Yellow Root

Plant Hardiness: Zone 2

Flower: Drooping clusters of brownish-purple flowers. Not very showy

Bloom Time: Early spring

Foliage: Bright green leaves on the upper portion of the stem. Fall color varies from yellow to purple

Fruit: Pale brown clusters of single, dry capsules

Habit: Low spreading shrub. Forms a colony of individual unbranched stems that are connected as a mass at ground level

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and spreading freely from suckers

Sun Exposure: Partial sun to full shade

Native Habitat: Eastern portion of the United States from New York to Florida

Other Features: Found growing naturally along streamsides and other moist areas

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Description: This is an excellent deciduous ground cover for damp areas. I’ve read in the literature that the leaves are described as celery-like, and I couldn’t describe them any better – they definitely look the same. It only grows approximately 2 to 3 feet in height although in many cases it might stay lower than that. It will make a wonderful ground cover for any damp area and spreads quite rapidly. Being a native of eastern United States, it is also a good understory plant for the native plant garden. The roots are indeed yellow, and I understand the Native Americans used these roots to produce a yellow dye. This is another plant that is not too well known and is under used. Think of it when you need a damp area ground cover.