South Dakota Native Plant Research
Saxifragaceae : Heuchera richardsonii

Saxifragaceae : Heuchera richardsonii


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Family Name


Common Name

Prairie alumroot. Richarson’s alumroot

Native American Name

Lakota: waȟpéǧa, waȟpé t’áǧa


Heuchera richardsonii is a perennial herb from a stout, branched caudex with 1 or a few softly hairy stems, 15-70 cm tall. The leaves are basal with long petioles, the blades are heart to kidney shaped, 3-8 cm wide with 5-7 rounded lobes, smooth and green on top and lighter with hairs on the lower surface. The inflorescence is a raceme to narrow panicle, with glandular hairs, 5-20 cm long, the flowers in clusters of 2-6. The flowers have a green, well-developed, irregular, tubular hypanthium with 5 rounded lobes and short glandular hairs on the outer surface. The 5 stamens have orange anthers and are exerted from the floral tube. The 2 upper lobes of the tube are longest and tend to drape over the stamens. Although the flower color is usually green, it can becomes yellowish brown or reddish in sunnier locations. The 2-carpeled, partially inferior pistil is tapered into 2 styles up to 2.5 mm long. Prairie alumroot blooms in June and July in open woodlands and prairies in counties scattered throughout South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Prairie alumroot forms attractive mounds of leaves with flowering stems arising from the middle in early summer. Although not really showy, the flowers attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. They make a dramatic ground cover under open stands of trees.

Horticulture Notes

Seed collection: The fruits ripen and split in July and August releasing the seeds.

Germination: The seeds need 30-60 day cold moist stratification for spring planting. Plant shallowly as they need light.

Vegetative propagation: Older plants can be divided in the fall.

Light: Partial shade is best but the tolerate full sun.

Soil: Well drained soils of most types.

Water: Medium wet to dry.

Saxifragaceae : Heuchera richardsonii