Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants



Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Sun to light shade; medium moisture level; grows in infertile sands and gravels, silt loams, and heavy silts; strongly acid to neutral pH.

Up to 3 feet height by 3-6 feet spread; blooms in April; dark purple to chocolate brown flowers; inconspicuous, small, dry, balloon-like seed pods hanging in clusters of 4-8 in late summer.

Growth Rate:  Slow to medium

Maintenance:  Infrequent disease and insect problems.  Very adaptable, carefree plant.

Propagation:  Easy from root cuttings and division; moderately easy from seed.

Native Region:  East Tennessee and lightly in southeast corner of Coastal Plain

Deciduous, very small, flat-topped, mat-forming shrub with erect stems and celery-like leaves.  Spreads into colonies and is a solid, weed-smothering groundcover.  Good for erosion control.  Named for its bright yellow roots and inner bark.  Autumn leaf color is clear yellow and then changing to red or purple.  Not often found in nursery catalogs but has a long list of desirable traits.  Occurs naturally in rich, damp woods, wet depressions, and on stream banks.  Prefers shaded, moist soil but will grow in full sun which helps curb its vigorous growth.  Can become a weed itself if not properly sited.  High wildlife value.


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