Herbs & Plants

Heuchera americana

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Botanical Name :Heuchera americana
Family: Saxifragaceae
Genus: Heuchera
Species: H. americana
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Saxifragales
Common Name:Alumroot

Habitat :Heuchera americana is native from Ontario south to Georgia and west from Nebraska to Louisiana.    For the most part, plants are indigenous to rocky open woods, crevices or ledges of basic rock outcrops and calcareous woodlands. It grows best in part shade or filtered sun in moist well drained humus rich soil.   Plants require good drainage and tolerate drought and rocky soils.  The preference is for soils with circumneutral pH.

Heuchera americana, or Alumroot, is a small (under 2 ft. high and wide) evergreen perennial plant.Lobed semi-palmate green, purple, or brown leaves are often veined or marbled. Loose racemes of insignificant green to cream flowers are born on 3′ stalks in early summer. and surrounds its upper third with loosely grouped, minute, greenish, cup-shaped flowers. A somewhat hairy stalk bearing yellowish-green, bell-shaped, drooping flowers in loose, slender, branching clusters; usually 4-5 flowers on each branch. A clump of attractive basal leaves springs from an underground stem. The leaves are fuzzy, oval, lobed and somewhat evergreen.

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Several similar Heuchera species occur in the East, many of which are difficult to distinguish from one another. The genus name honors the 18th-century German physician and botanist Johann von Heucher.

Plant Characteristics:-
Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Inflorescence: Panicle
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Usually around 18 inches high, but can grow to 3 feet
Leaf Color: Deep green. Shades of purple, red, and yellow in fall.
Autumn Foliage: yes
Flower Size: Tiny
Fruit Color: Dark red
Size Class: 1-3 ft.

Water Use: Low , Medium
Light Requirement: Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist , Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Well-drained, humus-rich, acid soils, sometimes rocky. Tolerates poor soil, low moisture, and lime.
Conditions Comments: In sunny areas, the leaves take on a bronze cast several months into the growing season.

Propagation:Through  Seeds and also Root Division .

Medicinal Uses:
The root of this plant may contain as much as 20% of its weight in tannins, acid compounds that serve to shrink swollen, moist tissues.  Alumroot’s strong astringency is likely to have earned the plant its common name.  Its overall effect is less than irritating than Cranesbill, Oak Bark or Canaigre.   Dried and powdered alumroot was used by Northwest Indians as a general digestive tonic, and herbalists still use it to stop minor bleeding and reduce inflammation.  It was listed in the US pharmacopoeia for similar purposes until 1882.  An infusion of the root was used to treat diarrhea, and a leaf poultice for skin abrasions.  A teaspoon of the chopped root, boiled in water for 20 minutes, can be used for gastroenteritis, particularly with symptoms of diarrhea and dry, bilious vomiting.  The tea makes an excellent gargle for sore throats, especially when combined with one-fourth teaspoon of golden seal root; a half cup drunk an hour before every meal will stimulate the healing of regenerating ulcers of the esophagus and stomach, but of little use for duodenal ulcers.  The root is an old folk remedy for dysentery, a cup drunk every two hours for at least a day.  Since most astringents are precipitated before reaching the colon, obstinate dysentery should be treated by an enema; a teaspoon of the chopped root boiled for twenty minutes in a pint of water,.  The same quantity can be used as a douche for vaginitis or mild cervicitis.  The finely ground root is a good first aid for treating cuts and abrasions, promoting almost instant clotting; if combined with equal parts golden seal root and Echinacea angustifolia root, the mixture makes an excellent antiseptic powder.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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