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Tiarella cordifolia (Heartleaf foamflower)
Reveal, James L.

Tiarella cordifolia

Tiarella cordifolia L.

Heartleaf Foamflower, Heart-leaf Foamflower

Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)


USDA Symbol: tico

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

Long, slender stamens give heart-leaf foamflower’s spikes of white flowers a frothy appearance. The small, star-shaped flowers occur in compact racemes on 6-16 in. stalks rising above a mound of attractive, lobed leaves. The flower stalk lacks leaves in the northeastern part of the plant’s range, but bears heart-shaped leaves in the South. Mature plants send out runners, creating sizeable colonies with time. This is a perennial plant. Small, white to pinkish flowers are in a feathery, somewhat elongated, terminal cluster.

This attractive wildflower, which spreads by underground stems, forms colonies, and makes excellent groundcover for shady, wooded sites. The tiny flowers and fine texture of the stamens resemble foam and account for the common name. The genus name is from the Greek tiara, designating a turban once worn by the Persians, and refers to the shape of the pistil.


From the Image Gallery

44 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 16 inches tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Bloom Notes: White to pinkish, occasionally purplish.


USA: AL , CT , GA , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. to s. Ont. & MI, s. to GA & MS
Native Habitat: Cool, moist, deciduous woods; stream banks

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Moist, well-drained, humus-rich soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Propagation is easiest by dividing the runners or crowns in fall or spring. Plant the divisions about a foot apart. Seeds collected from mature fruits can be planted immediately or sown in the spring. Germination is high, but the seedlings grow slowly.
Seed Collection: The small black seeds are generally ready for collection about one month after the first flowers open. There will be progressive maturation of seed from the bottom of the stalk to the top. Cleaned seeds should be stored in sealed, refrigerated containers.
Seed Treatment: No special treatment is necessary.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Plants for shade native to New York
June 13, 2006
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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
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE


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.
Bibref 1294 - 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

Web Reference

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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