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Hexastylis contracta

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Plant types and subtypes: Perennials, Evergreens, Ground Covers

Light Requirements: part-shade, shade

Water Use: medium

Soil Moisture: dry, moist

Soil Description: acid, rich

Height: 3"-6"

Bloom Time: March, April, May, June

Bloom Color: crimson, bronze, brown

Leaf Color: green

Hardiness Zone: 6, 7

Additional Tags: clumping, evergreen, naturalizing, ornamental foliage, rare, shade garden plant, winter interest, woodland plant

Hexastylis contracta

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Hexastylis contracta

Also known as:

mountain heartleaf


southern heartleaf

Scientific Synonyms:

Asarum contractum


Hexastylis Contracta has heart-shaped stiff leaves. These are diminutive evergreen beauties. It is similar in most ways to H. Virginica, except that the leaves lack the varrigation. The flowers are unusual, but rest on the ground and are difficult to see. They are reddish-brown spotted jugs.


An unusual and attractive plant for a shade or woodland garden. It does best in moist, rich soil, and filtered light. It is tolerant of dry conditions and will do well in a shaded rock garden. It can be used most effectively in groups, and should be place where it is easily viewable and does not try to compete with taller perennials or ground covers. Blooms from early spring to early summer: March to June. Zones 6-7


Propagate by division or root cuttings in early spring or fall.

Additional Notes

Hexastylis contracta is a very rare and endangered species. There are only 2 disjunct populations recorded, and only in a handful of counties. One is in the Cumberland Plateau of central Tennessee and Kentucky, the other is in the southeastern Blue Ridge Province of western North Carolina.

Native Range & Classification

Recorded County Distribution: USDA data

Native Range:

USDA Endangered Status:

  • Endangered: KY, NC
  • Special Concern: TN


Kingdom Plantae Plants
Subkingdom Tracheobionta Vascular plants
Superdivision Spermatophyta Seed plants
Division Magnoliophyta Flowering plants
Class Magnoliopsida Dicotyledons
Subclass Magnoliidae
Order Aristolochiales
Family Aristolochiaceae Birthwort family
Genus Hexastylis heartleaf
Species Hexastylis contracta mountain heartleaf