Starting a series within a series, I will be highlighting shade plants that grow well underneath trees, especially California Live Oak. I have a deep shade area beneath many trees here in my own garden and i am constantly looking for plants that can help green this area. — Douglas

Siskiyou Alum Root (Heuchera merriamii)

Heuchera merriamii

By Scot Loring Used under Creative Commons License.

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Heuchera merriami, or Alumroot, grows up to 10,000 feet elevation but it is hardy to only -10 F. The leaves are small, with scalloped edges, and form a low clump near the ground, while the flowering stalks rise up about six inches, with open clusters of delicate, creamy flowers. Alumroot is an excellent specimen for a rock garden and grows well in filtered or afternoon shade with typical garden water at lower elevations. In a garden this plant stands out when several plants are grouped together and the flowers are massed and appear as one showy cluster. Heuchera merriamii is perfect in a small, rock garden growing with Penstemon davidsonii, Penstemon rydbergii, Penstemon heterodoxus, Arnica parryi, Aster ascendens, Campanula rotundifolia, Eriogonum umbellatum, Geranium californicum, and Heuchera hirsutissima. — Las Pilitas Nursery

More information on Island Alum Root (Heuchera maxima):


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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas