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Xanthorhiza simplicissima (Yellowroot)
Brundage, Stephanie

Xanthorhiza simplicissima

Xanthorhiza simplicissima Marshall

Yellowroot, Shrub Yellowroot

Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

A mat-like, spreading shrub with erect, leggy stems to 30 inches The bark and long roots are deep-yellow and bitter. Attractive foliage is once- or twice-pinnate, glossy and green, turning yellow to reddish-purple in fall. Many tan-colored leaves persist into winter. The small, star-shaped, purplish-brown flowers are in crowded, terminal clusters. Fruit is a dry, yellowish follicle.


From the Image Gallery

26 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Fruit Type: Follicle
Size Notes: Up to about 30 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow , Purple
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Brownish purple to greenish yellow.


USA: AL , CT , FL , GA , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MS , NC , NY , OH , PA , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: PA & c. WV, s. to FL & LA; naturalized elsewhere
Native Habitat: Damp woods; wet depressions; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Sands, gravels or silts.
Conditions Comments: Makes a desirable ground cover for moist sites. Brittle stems may suffer with heavy ice glaze. Freely suckers from the roots.


Description: The most effective propagation method is division of parent plant. Root cuttings and June shoot cuttings will also work.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

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.

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
Georgia Native Plant Society - Atlanta, GA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 57 - Atlas of Florida Plants (2020) Institute for Systematic Botany
Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-05-04
Research By: TWC Staff

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