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Gillenia trifoliata

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials

Light Requirements: part-sun, part-shade, shade

Water Use: low, medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, neutral, rich, gravel/rock

Height: 2'-4'

Bloom Time: April, May, June

Bloom Color: white, pink

Leaf Color: green, bronze

Hardiness Zone: 5, 6, 7, 8

Additional Tags: cut flowers, drought tolerant, fall interest, medicinal, shade garden plant

Flower of Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman's root)
  • Flower of Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman's root)
  • Flower of Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman's root)

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Description

Gillenia trifoliata

Also known as:

Bowman's root

,

Indian physic

,

fawn's breath

,

ipecac

Scientific Synonyms:

Porteranthus trifoliatus

Description

Gillenia trifoliata is a clump forming plant with reddish stems. The attractive slender, stalkless green leaflets are tinted with red and bronze. It produces large amounts of delicate, star-shaped, whitish-pink flowers at the ends of slender, divided red stems. Mature plants develop a bushy appearance without feeling heavy, due to their fine features. Attractive red calyxes develop from the spent flowers and remain well through fall.

Cultivation

Established Gillenias are quite drought resistant. Preferring acidic soil, they are tolerant of some lime. When planted in a sunnier location, they will adopt a more compact habit and produce more flowers. The plants should be cut back in winter or early spring before new growth appears. They have long bloom times starting as early as April and going as late as July. Zones 5-8

Propagation

Propagate by division of root crown or from seed, in spring or fall.

Additional Notes

May be used in cut flower arrangements. A powder made from dried roots of this plant has been used as a laxative and emetic. Other parts of the plant have been used to treat respiratory ailments.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:
AL, AR, DC, DE, GA, IL, KY, MA, MD, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC, TN, VA

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Threatened: MI

Classification

Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Rosidae
Order Rosales
Family Rosaceae Rose family
Genus Gillenia
Species Gillenia trifoliata Bowman's root