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Ipecac Gillenia trifoliata

Previously known as:

  • Porteranthus trifoliatus
Phonetic Spelling
gil-le-nee-ah try-foh-lee-AY-tuh
Description

Bowman’s root or Indian physic, is a perennial flowering plant in the Rosaceae or rose family. It is native to the eastern United States and Canada and spans from southern Ontario to Georgia. Bowman’s root can also be found west to Kentucky, Arkansas, and Louisiana. Its native habitat is in the woody mountainous regions where it enjoys partial sun, dry to moist conditions, and rocky soil.

This deciduous herbaceous plant that blooms with five-petaled white flowers on wiry red stems from late spring to early summer. The airy look of the flowers is effective in mass plantings or borders. The serrated green leaves turn red in fall.  This plant may benefit from support.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pink Profusion'
    Pink flowers
'Pink Profusion'
Tags:
#showy flowers#heat tolerant#white flowers#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#mass planting#herb garden#NC native#thickets#native garden#borders#native wildflower#late spring flowers#food source summer#food source fall#early summer flowers#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source hard mast fruit#fall color red#butterflies#pollinators#audubon#woodlands
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Pink Profusion'
    Pink flowers
'Pink Profusion'
Tags:
#showy flowers#heat tolerant#white flowers#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#mass planting#herb garden#NC native#thickets#native garden#borders#native wildflower#late spring flowers#food source summer#food source fall#early summer flowers#food source nectar#food source pollen#food source hard mast fruit#fall color red#butterflies#pollinators#audubon#woodlands
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Gillenia
    Species:
    trifoliata
    Family:
    Rosaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern U.S.A., Canada
    Distribution:
    The eastern United States and Canada
    Wildlife Value:
    This plant attracts butterflies and pollinators.
    Play Value:
    Buffer
    Easy to Grow
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 6 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Wildflower
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Clumping
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Shallow Rocky
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    NC Region:
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 8a
  • Fruit:
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Summer
    Fruit Description:
    Fruit displays from August to October.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    White
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Corymb
    Head
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Good Cut
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Five narrow, long, white or pinkish-white petals that are unequal in length and somewhat twisted. They are held in loose corymbs on wiry, branching red stems. After the petals drop, attractive red calyces remain. Flowers bloom from April to June.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Oblong
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Olive-green leaves are divided into three-pointed, slightly toothed leaflets (1.5-4"). They are almost stalkless. Pair of small stipules at the base of each leaf. Good fall color.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Red/Burgundy
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Thin reddish-brown stems on slender, somewhat twisted branches. Typically require support.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Meadow
    Naturalized Area
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rock Garden
    Design Feature:
    Accent
    Border
    Foundation Planting
    Hedge
    Mass Planting
    Specimen