Yellowroot is a small woody perennial forming a dense carpet that reaches 1 to 3 feet high. This east coast native is found in damp woods, stream banks, and wet depressions. The best feature is the yellow to red to purple fall color. The roots are yellow and once used to make dye.
All Common Names:
Tree or Plant Type:
- North America
- Mixed border,
- Low-growing shrub (under 3 feet),
- Large plant (more than 24 inches)
- Full sun (6 hrs direct light daily),
- Partial sun/shade (4-6 hrs light daily),
- Full shade (4 hrs or less of light daily)
- Zone 3,
- Zone 4,
- Zone 5 (Chicago),
- Zone 6,
- Zone 7,
- Zone 8,
- Zone 9
- Acid soil,
- Alkaline soil,
- Moist, well-drained soil,
- Sandy soil,
- Wet soil
Season of Interest:
- Early summer,
- Mid summer,
- Late summer,
- Early fall
Flower Color & Fragrance:
Shape or Form:
Size & Form
A 2 to 3 feet high spreading woody ground cover, forming a large colony.
Tree & Plant Care
Best in average to moist, acidic to neutral soils in full sun to partial shade
Adaptable to most soil types but best in moist soil. Found along streams and river banks.
May be difficult to find in nurseries.
Disease, pests, and problems
Disease, pest, and problem resistance
Will not do well in heavy clay soils.
Native geographic location and habitat
Native to the Eastern United States from Maine to northern Florida and west to eastern Texas.
Bark color and texture
Gray-brown smooth stems
Roots and inner bark are bright yellow.
Leaf or needle arrangement, size, shape, and texture
Alternate, pinnately compound leaves with 3 to 5 leaflets, 4 to 8 inches long, yellow-green with serrate to deeply toothed, margins.
The petioles are long and slender, lustrous bright green changing to golden yellow in the fall.
Flower arrangement, shape, and size
Drooping clusters of 5-petaled, star-like flowers, yellow to purple-brown, appearing in early spring.
Fruit, cone, nut, and seed descriptions
A star-shaped cluster of follicles (dehisent capsule), initially green and fleshy, drying and turning brown.