En EspaŅol
Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman's root) | NPIN
Share

NPIN: Native Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Search native plant database:
Name:    
Family:    
See a list of all Plants





Gillenia trifoliata (Bowman's root)
Muller, Thomas L.

Gillenia trifoliata

Gillenia trifoliata (L.) Moench

Bowman's root, Indian physic

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Porteranthus trifoliatus

USDA Symbol: GITR6

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This loose, informal, slender perennial, grows 2-3 ft. tall from a woody rootstock. One or more stems arise from each crown. Leaf blades are divided into three, narrow, toothed lobes. An erect plant bearing white or pinkish flowers with narrow petals and almost stalkless, 3-parted leaves. The whitish flowers have five narrow petals and are borne in loose panicles. Attractive red calyxes persist after the petals fall.

The five petals of this plant project somewhat irregularly. The dried and powdered root was used by Native Americans as a laxative and emetic, hence the common names. A southern and western relative, American Ipecac (G. stipulata), found from Kansas, Michigan, and New York south to Georgia and Texas, has large, sharply toothed or jagged stipules.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Size Notes: 1 to 4 feet tall
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower: Flower 1 inch
Fruit:
Size Class: 1-3 ft. , 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Blooms usually white, but occasionally pale pink.

Distribution

USA: AL , AR , DC , DE , GA , IL , KY , MA , MD , MI , MO , NC , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , WV
Canada: ON
Native Distribution: S. Ont. to DE & GA, w. to KY, AR & LA
Native Habitat: Dry to moist, upland woods & rocky banks, mostly in the mountains.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Well-drained, rich, rocky, acid soil. Tolerates lime.

Benefit

Use Ornamental: Standout white flowers for shade
Use Medicinal: The dried and powdered root was used by Native Americans as a laxative and emetic.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Propagation

Propagation Material: Root Division , Seeds
Description: Propagate by seed planted in early spring or by division.
Seed Collection: Ripens in early fall.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Enchanter's Garden - Hinton, WV
American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Delaware Nature Society - Hockessin, DE
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 1620 - Gardening with Native Plants of the South (Reprint Edition) (2009) Wasowski, S. with A. Wasowski
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Recommended Species Lists

Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.

View Recommended Species page

Additional resources

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

Metadata

Record Modified: 2013-12-14
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back

E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center