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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Coptis trifolia (Threeleaf goldthread)
Smith, R.W.

Coptis trifolia

Coptis trifolia (L.) Salisb.

Threeleaf goldthread, Three-leaf goldthread, Canker root

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Synonym(s): Coptis groenlandica, Coptis trifolia ssp. groenlandica, Coptis trifolia var. groenlandica

USDA Symbol: COTR2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), AK (N), CAN (N), GL (N), SPM (N)

Small and slender, this woodland perennial bears a single flower at the end of a 6 in., leafless stalk. Each flower has four to seven, petal-like sepals tinged with purple on their outer surface, and numerous white stamens. Basal, evergreen leaves, divided into three leaflets, occur on long petioles.

The common name refers to the golden-yellow underground stem that both Native Americans and colonists chewed to treat mouth sores (hence another common name for the plant, Canker-root). It was also made into a tea for use as an eyewash.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit:
Size Class: 0-1 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul

Distribution

USA: AK , CT , IN , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB , NS , ON , PE
Native Distribution: Lab. to Man., s. to NJ, WV mts., n. OH & n. IN
Native Habitat: Mossy woods & swamps

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, cold, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available

Propagation

Description: Sow seeds outside as soon as they are ripe. Seeds will germinate after one winter and flower after two. Propagation is also possible by root cuttings.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Not Available
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FAC FACW FACW FACW FACW
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

Additional resources

USDA: Find Coptis trifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Coptis trifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Coptis trifolia

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-07-02
Research By: TWC Staff

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