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Yellow Root

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Here's how your plants will look on arrival. All plants are dormant with no leaves or foliage.

Yellowroot plant – xanthorhiza simplicissima



The yellowroot plant is native to the entire Eastern United States, naturally growing as far north as Maine and as far south as Florida, and west through Ohio and Texas. It is classed as a subshrub, reaching a mature height generally in the range of 8 to 28 inches, though in some cases it can grow as tall as 35 inches. Wild, yellowroot tends to increase in sandy soil along the sides of streams with moderate light. When cultivated in for gardens or landscaping uses, it can be grown with greater access to sunlight, which will make yellowroot's colors in fall more vibrant. Landscapers and gardeners find it to be one of the best plants for hardy deciduous ground cover. It is common in American gardens, and comparatively rare in British landscaping uses.

The leaves of the yellowroot plant are arranged in a spiral pattern, and each leaf is generally between 4 and 7 inches long. Each leaf is divided into 5-7 smaller, toothed leaflets. When the yellowroot plant blooms, flowers emerge from the upper portion of the plant's stem, which can reach up to 6 millimeters (approximately one-quarter inch) in diameter. When the yellowroot blooms, each flower is small and star-shaped. The flowers are produced on panicles between two and eight inches long and vary in color from brown to red to purple. Providing the yellowroot plant with greater sunlight will make the colors of the blooming flowers more vibrant.

Yellowroot is so named for the yellow color of its roots, which were used as a dyeing agent by Native Americans as well as for medicinal purposes. The yellowroot plant is a natural antibiotic and anti-inflammatory and is used in American traditional medicine to treat many conditions, including the common cold, the flu, sinus infections, and more. It can be ground up and drank in a tea, made into a tincture, or taken as a capsule.