Xanthorhiza simplicissima Marshall - Yellow Root

Xanthorhiza simplicissima plant

Family - Ranunculaceae

Stems:

Xanthorhiza simplicissima stem

Leaves:

Xanthorhiza simplicissima leavesLeaves at anthesis.

Inflorescence:

N/A

Flowers:

Xanthorhiza simplicissima flower

Flowering - March - May.

Habitat - Shaded stream banks.

Origin - Native to North America.

Other information - This species can be found mainly in the northern 2/3 of Alabama. The plant is easy to identify becasue if its compound leaves and diffuse inflorescences of small reddish-green flowers. Yellow Root stems and roots are, unfortunately, collected by locals who chew the stems for dental hygiene. This collection has led to a decline in plant numbers. A simple toothbrush is less expensive and does a much better job.
The genus name Xanthorhiza derives from the Greek "xanth(o)" meaning "yellow" and "rhiz(a)" meaning "a root" referring to the yellow wood and roots of the plant.
The species epithet simplicissima derives from the Latin "simpl(ic)" meaning "simple" and "issim(a)" which is the superlative ending. The name means "the simplest" and refers to the simple, unbranched stems.

Alabama Distribution:

Xanthorhiza simplicissima map

Photographs taken at Moss Creek Preserve, Hoover, AL., 3-12-06.


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