Yellowroot (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Yellowroot
Give a thumbs up Yellow Root
Give a thumbs up Shrub Yellowroot

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade
Partial or Dappled Shade
Partial Shade to Full Shade
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Very strongly acid (4.5 – 5.0)
Strongly acid (5.1 – 5.5)
Moderately acid (5.6 – 6.0)
Slightly acid (6.1 – 6.5)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4a -34.4 °C (-30 °F) to -31.7 °C (-25 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: 2-3 feet
Plant Spread: spreading mass
Leaves: Good fall color
Fruit: Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Summer
Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Russet
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Uses: Groundcover
Wildlife Attractant: Birds
Resistances: Flood Resistant
Toxicity: Roots are poisonous
Other: alkaloid "berberine"
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Cuttings: Cane
Cuttings: Leaf
Cuttings: Root
Stolons and runners
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil


Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Jul 8, 2018 12:17 PM

Yellowroot is a low shrub groundcover that is native to the southeastern US from a spot in east Texas and southern Mississippi & Alabama & northwestern Florida to western Tennessee to central West Virginia with a spot around the New York City area, and then much of North Carolina & western South Carolina & northern Georgia. It makes a nice mass of light green cut-leaf foliage. It bears small star-like purple to brown flowers in drooping clusters in late April and early May with the foliage. Its yellowish fruit in August-September is eaten by birds and small mammals. It is easy to transplant from its shallow fibrous root system and it spreads by stolons, stems along the ground, to become a mass. I've only seen this interesting plant at two different arboretums in southeast Pennsylvania and not in yards or regular landscapes. It is probably used as a groundcover in the South by some professional landscapers that would know what this species is.

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Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Jan 15, 2012 3:43 PM

Yellowroot is a small deciduous shrub that acts like a 2 foot high running ground cover as it colonizes over good or poor ground. Found in the wild along shady streams primarily in the central eastern states but ranging from Maine to Texas. Yellowroot has bright green fern or astilbe-like leaves that turn a nice yellow in the fall, and it is named for its bright yellow wood and roots. Stems are unbranched and grow a few inches taller each year. The early spring flowers are small, curious, and dark purple. This plant is easy to grow in good soil and part shade, but will also grow in dry shade as well as moist sun. Consider it as an underplanting for taller shrubs or trees, to fill in shady spots, or even as a woody ground cover in moist, sunny places, and give it room to spread. Under good conditions, the planting will become very dense. As the planting matures, you can mow down the older parts to reinvigorate them.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
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Yardening in the Mid-Atlantic by Eric4home Aug 14, 2019 2:19 PM 3,039

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