Roundleaf Alumroot

A perennial native, roundleaf alumroot (Heuchera cylindrica) is a drought tolerant plant growing on rocky and talus slopes. It is found in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, British Columbia and Alberta. Alpine alumroot and poker heuchera are other colloquial names for roundleaf alumroot.

A member of the Saxifrage Family, roundleaf alumroot is a highly variable plant. The leaves are basal, have a long petiole (stalk), and are palmately lobed, looking a  little like a maple leaf. The entire plant is usually covered in short, straight hairs.

The inflorescence is a spike at the end of a leafless stem which can grow up to three feet tall. The five petals are small and inconspicuous or totally absent. The five sepals are fused at the base forming a creamy, bell-like structure. Inside the sepals are 5 stamens and 2 hornlike styles.

Native peoples used decoctions of roundleaf alumroot roots to treat diarrhea, sores and cuts and as an astringent.

These roundleaf alumroot plants were growing along Hidden Valley Trail in the Lava Beds National Monument (Siskiyou County CA).

 

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