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Brook-feather Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Phonetic Spelling
zan-tho-RISE-uh sim-plih-SISS-ee-mah
Description

Yellowroot is a native deciduous shrub of eastern North America that can be found in it native habitat from New York to West Virginia and south to Florida and Alabama.  It is not typically available commercially, but in its natural habitat is found on edges of streams or damp woods in sandy soil under a canopy of dappled sunlight. In North Carolina, it is found in the mountains and Piedmont areas. It grows 1-3 feet tall and spreads by suckers. Flowers appear in spring in drooping panicles and fall color is yellow to reds.

It will grow in well-drained moist sandy or clay loams in partial sun to shade. The best fall color occurs with some sun. Use this plant as a ground cover on banks of streams, woodland gardens and naturalized areas.

Its common name, Yellowroot, comes from the roots of the plant, which are yellow.  The roots and stems can be used in dye making.  Stems have also been used in basket weaving.  

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Alkaline soils may lead to chlorosis.  Under idyllic conditions, it may spread indefinitely by its suckers.  However, planting within metal edging or having a concrete barrier such as a sidewalk can control its spread.  Placing in full sun and insuring dry soil can also help to contain its spread.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#partial shade#drought tolerant#perennial#shrub#native shrub#spring flowers#stream banks#deer resistant#native garden#groundcover#food source summer#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#maroon flowers#audubon#erosion tolerant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#deciduous#fall color#shade tree#partial shade#drought tolerant#perennial#shrub#native shrub#spring flowers#stream banks#deer resistant#native garden#groundcover#food source summer#Coastal FACW#Piedmont Mountains FACW#wet soils tolerant#clay soils tolerant#bird friendly#dry soils tolerant#food source hard mast fruit#mammals#maroon flowers#audubon#erosion tolerant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Xanthorhiza
    Species:
    simplicissima
    Family:
    Ranunculaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Native Americans used the roots to make yellow dye
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Root Cutting
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Eastern USA
    Distribution:
    AL , CT , FL , GA , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MS , NC , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
    Wildlife Value:
    Provides understory habitat and food for upland game birds, songbirds, and small animals feed on the fruit.
    Play Value:
    Defines Paths
    Textural
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Ground Cover
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    3a, 3b, 4a, 4b, 5a, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8b, 9b, 9a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Green
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Follicle
    Fruit Description:
    The fruit is a star-shaped cluster of green follicles that dry to yellow. Displays from May to June.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Panicle
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Star
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    Small, insignificant, brownish purple star-shaped flowers with 5 sepals (no petals) on crowded 2-8 inch long terminal clusters from March to May
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Glossy
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Leaf Type:
    Compound (Pinnately , Bipinnately, Palmately)
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Margin:
    Lobed
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    > 6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Alternate, compound pinnate leaves with 3 to 5 toothed leaflets that are glossy, green and up to 7 inches (ca. 18 cm) long. Margins are lobed and toothed. Fall color is yellow to reddish-purple.
  • Bark:
    Bark Color:
    Dark Brown
    Dark Gray
    Bark Description:
    Thin and smooth brownish-gray bark.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Smooth/Hairless
    Stem Description:
    Upright, unbranched and leggy.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Small Mammals
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer